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Tuesday, 06 July 2010

EU’s 'divisive' trade deal comes under fire at SADC conference

Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary Tomáz Salomão criticised the European Union (EU) for trying to “impose” a preferential free-trade agreement on countries in the region. Last year, the EU signed an interim economic partnership agreement (EPA) with Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland to facilitate the free movement of goods between the two regions.Together with South Africa and Namibia, these countries form the century-old Southern African Customs Union (SACU). No SACU member is allowed to negotiate a free-trade agreement with other regions without the consent of all the members of the union. The decision by Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland resulted in SA threatening to pull out of the customs union, which would have adverse economic consequences for the three countries given that they rely heavily on the SACU revenue-sharing mechanism for their income, which is heavily subsidised by SA as the most powerful economy in the region.

Source: Trade Law Center for Southern Africa

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