|July 7, 2008
SACU concludes trade deal with Mercosur
The Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) has finally concluded a preferential trade agreement with South America's Common Market of the South (Mercosur) after 12 rounds of negotiations, the Windhoek-based Sacu secretariat has announced. The trade deal encompasses approximately 1.000 tariffs for goods to be traded between Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa as Sacu members and Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, which are the Mercosur members. "Both parties committed themselves to expediting the necessary internal procedures in order to sign the agreement as soon as possible," the Secretariat said in a statement. "It is the first trade agreement concluded by Sacu as a single entity and with another developing region, giving meaning to the objectives of south-south cooperation and integration." Both trade blocs confirmed their mutual interest in expanding trade between their regions and highlighted the benefits of enhanced relations through new trade and investment opportunities. In this regard, they stressed that the agreement would be a key element to gradually establish the conditions for a future free trade area. Both parties reaffirmed their mutual interest in expanding trade between their regions and highlighted the benefits of enhanced relations through new trade and investment opportunities. The agreement is also seen as a key element to gradually establish the conditions for a future free trade area (FTA) with Mercosur.
Namibia is also part of the 14-member Southern African Development Community (SADC), which started an FTA among its members this year. SADC intends to have a customs union in place over the next two years, which will have implications on the smaller Sacu.
Two studies have been completed on the impact, which was also discussed at the Johannesburg meeting, but no details were disclosed.
(The Namibian, Windhoek)