SACU welcomes UK commitment to continued trade

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Trade Ministers have welcomed a commitment by the United Kingdom to avoid disruptions as it withdraws from the European Union (EU).

“SACU Ministers have welcomed the UK’s intention to avoid disruption for its trading partners as it withdraws from the EU.

“The United Kingdom reaffirmed its commitment to the trade arrangement under the current EU-Southern African Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), to maintain current market access to the United Kingdom following its withdrawal from the EU, [as well as] to ensure continuity of the effects of the EU-SADC EPA,” said the SACU Trade Ministers in a joint statement.

The Ministers responsible for Trade Policy in the United Kingdom Lord Mark Price; Botswana, Vincent T Seretse; Namibia, Immanuel Ngatjizeko Ngatjizeko; South Africa, Dr Rob Davies; Swaziland, J C Mabuza; Lesotho Permanent Secretary of Trade and Industry, Fusi Notoane, representing the Minister of Trade; and the High Commissioner of Mozambique to South Africa, Paulino Macaringue met in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The Ministers met to discuss the trade relationship between the United Kingdom and the SACU countries post Brexit.

The agreement between the SADC EPA countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland) and the EU was signed on 10 June 2016 in Kasane, Botswana.

The EU-SADC EPA (EU-SADC EPA) — under which the EU guarantees Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Swaziland 100% free access to its market — provisionally entered into force between the SACU countries and the EU on 10 October 2016.

While the United Kingdom remains a member of the EU, the EU-SADC EPA will continue to apply to trade between the SADC EPA countries and the United Kingdom.

The two sides agreed to continue discussions to explore ways to ensure that the existing trade arrangement between the United Kingdom and SACU, currently governed by the EU-SADC EPA, will not be disrupted by the UK’s departure from the EU.

“Talks are likely to focus on steps to agree an arrangement that replicates the effects of the EPA once the United Kingdom has left the EU. This would be a technical exercise to ensure continuity in the trading relationship, rather than an opportunity to renegotiate existing terms,” the SACU Ministers said.

Given Mozambique’s participation in the SADC EPA, the Ministers have agreed to continue discussions on how best to work with that country in order to ensure continuity of the EPA for all partners. – SAnews.gov.za