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Assessment of the Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement

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Monday, 25 February 2013

Assessment of the Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement

An new publication assessing the Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) between South Africa and the European Union (EU) is available online. The paper concentrates mostly on the TDCA trade objective- the expanding and liberalising trade in goods, services and capital between the parties-, with an emphasis upon the agricultural trade.
The paper is authored by Ron Sandrey and Tania Gill, and financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
The TDCA was signed in October 1999 after five years of negotiations. It was provisionally but only partially applied from 1 January 2000 and fully entered into force on 1 May 2004 albeit with phasing periods.
The authors consider, that while it is natural that South Africa should be focusing upon the opportunities it has been afforded through its relationship with the newly-emerging BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries it is crucial to look back and assess the TDCA against the prospects of an enhanced trading and economic relationship with the BRICs. This is especially so in the present policy environment where the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EU and African countries are being vigorously negotiated, they believe.

South Africa, while part of the African Caribbean Pacific group of countries, is not party to the same preferential trade arrangements granted to the African Caribbean Pacific countries under the Cotonou Agreement.
South Africa joined the Economic Partnership Agreement (the trade pillar of the Cotonou agreement) negotiations as part of the Southern African Development Community Group in February 2007.
Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique signed an interim or "stepping stone" Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU in 2009. Namibia initialed an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU in 2007, but has not signed it yet.
South Africa, however, has opted not to join at this stage as its trade relations with the EU are governed by the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement.

Source: Trade Law Center (tralac.org), European Commission