Building capacity to help Africa trade better

SACU Legal Texts and Policy Documents


SACU Legal Texts and Policy Documents

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SACU Legal Texts and Policy Documents



The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) was established in 1910 through the Customs Union Agreement of 1910 between the Union of South Africa and the three so-called High Commission Territories of Bechuanaland (now Botswana), Basutoland (now Lesotho) and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). The 1969 Customs Union Agreement between South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland replaced the 1910 Agreement. Namibia became a contracting party to the 1969 Agreement in 1990 upon its independence from South Africa. The SACU Agreement was renegotiated during the mid-1990s and culminated in its signing on 21 October 2002. The new SACU Agreement entered into force in 2004. For more information visit the SACU website.


  • 1910 SACU Agreement (PDF, 25 KB)
  • 1969 SACU Agreement (PDF, 110 KB)
  • 2002 SACU Agreement, as amended 2013 (including Annex 1) (PDF, 933 KB)
    • Annexes To SACU Agreement (PDF, 191 KB)
    • Amendments to Institutionalise the SACU Summit (PDF, 1.71 MB)
  • Rules of Procedure SACU Institutions, 2001 (PDF, 111 KB)
  • SACU Head Quarters Agreement, 2006 (PDF, 1.56 MB)
  • SACU Customs Policy, 2012 (PDF, 410 KB)
  • Framework of the SACU Single Administrative Declaration Form Manual, 2012

Domestic Legislation

The SACU Agreement provides for the establishment of an independent institution, the Tariff Board, to make recommendations concerning changes in the common external tariff, tariff rebates and drawbacks, trade remedies (anti-dumping and countervailing action) and safeguards to the Council of Ministers. The Tariff Board must act on recommendations given to it by the National Bodies within the respective member states. The Tariff Board and National Bodies (with the exception of South Africa) are yet to be established.

South Africa established its National Body, the International Trade Administration Commission, in 2003 in terms of the International Trade Administration Act 71 of 2003. The International Trade Administration Commission is currently operating on behalf of the customs union.

  • International Trade Administration Act 71 of 2003 (PDF, 1755 KB)
  • Amended Safeguard Regulations (PDF, 428 KB)
  • Countervailing Regulations (PDF, 400 KB)
  • Anti-Dumping Regulations (PDF, 1.9 MB)

Status update

Status of Agreements concluded by the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) States

  • SACU Status of Agreements as at December 2017
  • Status of Agreements as at 30 September 2016 (PDF, 265 KB)

SACU-US Trade, Investment and Development Cooperation Agreement (TIDCA)

The SACU and the United States of America (US) concluded a Cooperative Agreement to promote investment and expand and diversify trade on 16 July 2008. A Consultative Group on Trade and Investment was established with the aims of, inter alia, endeavouring to conclude mutually beneficial trade- and investment-enhancing agreements; monitoring trade and investment relations between SACU and the US and identifying opportunities for expanding trade and investment; identifying and working to remove impediments to trade and investment between SACU and the US; considering trade capacity building assistance and/or cooperation; and promoting increased contact between the private sectors in SACU and the United States to facilitate the expansion of trade and investment.

  • Cooperative Agreement between the United States and SACU to Foster Trade, Investment and Development (PDF, 31 KB)

SACU-EFTA Agreement

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) States of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland signed a free trade agreement with SACU on 26 June 2006. Negotiations had commenced in May 2003 and the Agreement entered into force on 1 May 2008, to be phased in over a period of 10 years. The Agreement covers trade in goods and lays the foundation for a further engagement of the Parties with regard to intellectual property, investment, trade in services, and public procurement. A Joint Committee was established for the supervision and administration of the Agreement in July 2011, and provisions are included for consultations and dispute settlement procedures. Additionally, three bilateral Agreements on Agriculture have been concluded.

  • SACU-EFTA Free Trade Agreement (PDF, 67 KB)
    • Annex I: Territorial Application (PDF, 8 KB)
    • Annex II: Products Not Covered by the Agreement (PDF, 13 KB)
    • Annex III: Processed Agricultural Products (PAPs) (PDF, 11 KB)
    • Annex III Table (PDF, 44 KB)
    • Annex IV: Fish and Other Marine Products (PDF, 23 KB)
    • Annex V: Rules of Origin (PDF, 65 KB)
      • Appendix 1 to Annex V: Introductory Notes to the List in Appendix 2 (PDF, 25 KB)
      • Appendix 2 to Annex V: List of working or processing required to be carried out on non-originating materials (PDF, 226 KB)
      • Appendix 3 to Annex V: Specimens of movement certificate EUR 1 and application for a movement certificate EUR 1 (PDF, 21 KB)
    • Annex VI: Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters (PDF, 24 KB)
    • Annex VII: Customs Duties on Imports into SACU (PDF, 31 KB)
    • Annex VII Table 1: Market access provided by SACU on products falling within Chapters 25 to 98 (PDF, 583 KB)
    • Annex VII Table 2: Market access provided by SACU on PAPs (PDF, 28 KB)
    • Annex VIII: Industrial Products Under ITAC Investigation (PDF, 10 KB)

  • SACU-EFTA Rules of Procedure of the Joint Committee, July 2011

  • Agriculture SACU FTA Agreement with Iceland (PDF, 91 KB)
  • Agriculture SACU FTA Agreement with Norway (PDF, 266 KB)
  • Agriculture SACU FTA Agreement with Switzerland (PDF, 264 KB)

SACU-Mercosur Preferential Trade Agreement

The Southern Common Market (Mercosur) consists of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. The negotiations to conclude the preferential trade agreement commenced in December 2002. The SACU-Mercosur agreement was signed in December 2004 and was the first agreement that SACU concluded in accordance with the provisions of the 2002 SACU Agreement. This agreement was also the first agreement that SACU concluded with another developing regional trading partner. The Agreement laid out a framework for formal trade relations and included a built-in agenda to finalise the negotiating process on some outstanding issues including customs cooperation, the automotive industry, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, and rules of origin.

The Preferential Trade Agreement Between the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), was signed on 15 December 2008, in Salvador, Brazil; and on 3 April, 2009 in Maseru, Lesotho. After being ratified by all signatory parties, the Mercosur-SACU PTA between entered into force on 1 April 2016. The agreement and its various annexes follow below:

  • Preferential Trade Agreement between Mercosur and SACU - April 2009 (PDF, 65 KB)
  • Preferential Trade Agreement between Mercosur and SACU with signatures (PDF, 1.22 MB)
    • Annexes (PDF, 527 KB)
    • Annex III Originating products (PDF, 63 KB)
    • Appendix to Annex III Origin (PDF, 63 KB)
    • Annex V Dispute Settlement (PDF, 30 KB)
  • Mercosur-SACU Preferential Trade Agreement enters into force - 1 April 2016, Spanish (PDF, 16 KB)
  • Preferential Trade Agreement between Mercosur and SACU - Consolidated text, Spanish (PDF, 5.57 MB)
  • Preferences granted by Mercosur to SACU (Excel, 114 KB)
  • Preferences granted by Sacu to Mercosur (Excel, 148 KB)
  • Understanding between SACU and Mercosur (PDF, 22 KB)

WTO Trade Policy Review of SACU

One of the functions of the WTO is to conduct periodic reviews of the trade policies and practices of its members. The most recent review of SACU’s trade policies by the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB) took place in Geneva on 4 & 6 November 2015. The report and its various annexes follow below:

  • Report by the Secretariat (PDF, 303 KB)
  • Report by SACU (PDF, 281 KB)
    • Annex 1 Botswana (PDF, 582 KB)
    • Annex 2 Kingdom of Lesotho (PDF, 457 KB)
    • Annex 3 Namibia (PDF, 508 KB)
    • Annex 4 South Africa (PDF, 512 KB)
    • Annex 5 Kingdom of Swaziland (PDF, 428 KB)


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