SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement Documents and Resources
The European Union (EU) is currently negotiating a series of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the 79 countries from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region with the aim of promoting ACP-EU trade and ultimately contributing, through trade and investment, to sustainable development and poverty reduction. They are based on the principle of asymmetrical market opening, meaning that they provide a better access to the EU market for ACP partners. EPAs replace the previous market access regime of unilateral preferences for ACP countries.
On 10 June 2016, the EU and six countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) EPA Group – comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (BLNS), South Africa and Mozambique – signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the first of its kind between the EU and an African region pursuing the objective of economic integration. The signature took place in Kasane, Botswana. Provisional implementation commenced on 10 October 2016 between the EU and South Africa and the BLNS. Following ratification of the Agreement by Mozambique in April 2017, the SADC EPA is now fully operational.
The first meeting of the EU-SADC EPA Joint Council took place in Cape Town on 19 February 2019, just over two years after the start of the provisional application of the EU-SADC EPA. This was followed by the 6th meeting of the Trade and Development Committee on 19-20 February 2020 in Brussels, Belgium.
The full text of the Agreement and its Annexes is available to download below.
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Implications of Brexit
On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, after almost 44 years of membership. Brexit is due to happen on 29 March 2019 but there is no agreement yet on how the future relationship between the UK and the EU (the UK’s most important trading partner) will work. The nature of Brexit will have an impact on the detail of the UK’s future WTO membership and trade with third parties, including with African nations.
On 28 August 2018, British Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed plans to carry over the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreement with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Mozambique once the EU’s deal no longer applies to the UK. A Joint Statement was subsequently issued following a meeting of the United Kingdom, SACU member states and Mozambique trade ministers on a future UK, SACU and Mozambique Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
Joint statement on UK, SACU and Mozambique EPA - 29 Aug 2018
Research and analysis
tralac has been monitoring the SADC-EU EPA negotiations with keen interest. Several papers, briefs and policy notes have been published to encourage discussion and debate on key issues affecting the trade and regional integration agendas of countries in the southern African region.
pdf EU-SADC EPA booklet (4.51 MB) - tralac and Wesgro, July 2018
Trade between the SADC EPA countries and the EU - July 2018
A full list of related tralac Working Papers and Trade Briefs, as well as Discussions and Blogs, is available below.
tralac participated in the SADC-EU EPA High-Level Civil Society Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa on 16 October 2017. The Forum aimed to inform civil society on the EPA and its provisional implementation, focusing particularly on the sustainable development objectives and to identify the role of civil society in implementing and evaluating the impact of the EPA.
pdf SADC-EU EPA Civil Society Forum: Event Report (728 KB) - October 2017