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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

SADC to implement FTAs by 2012

All members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) should meet the 2012 deadline for the implementation of the Free Trade Areas (FTAs) following a delay in effecting them since their inception in 2008. Speaking in Windhoek, Namibia this week prior to the forthcoming SADC Heads of States and Governments 30th Jubilee Summit, SADC Secretariat Director of Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment, Boithumelo Gofhamodimo said the countries in the region have concurred to implement FTAs by 2012.“We are working towards the implementation of the FTAs by 2012 and we hope all the member states who are signatories to the agreement will be ready by 2012,” said Gofhamodimo. Most countries in the SADC region, including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Madagascar, are part of the FTA. the agreement excludes the Seychelles, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. The FTAs are expected to enhance the smooth flow of goods among member states and promote movement of people from one country to another in a quest to economically integrate the region. This comes after growing criticism by businesses on the slow movement of goods and services in the region due to clearance bottlenecks and delays in visa applications.The Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Chief Executive Officer Tarah Shaanika recently raised his voice on the poor implementation of the FTAs, saying the delays were hampering the smooth flow of business in the region.Analysts expect trade issues to dominate the forthcoming SADC Heads of States and Government meeting amid calls of speeding up integration. Criticism has been mounting on the regional leaders to implement resolutions that were proposed in promoting trade and economic issues.

Source: Trade Law Center for Southern Africa