Posted: July 27, 2019
Minister Patel Host Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Mozambique Trade Ministers Meeting
|The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Ebrahim Patel, hosted a meeting in Pretoria of Ministers responsible for trade in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Mozambique.
The meeting discussed the progress in the discussions to put in place a rollover Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between SACU, Mozambique and the United Kingdom (UK) before the UK’s scheduled 31 October 2019 exit from the European Union (EU). This is being done to ensure uninterrupted trade between the Southern African countries and the UK in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
The ministerial meeting was attended by Botswana’s Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Ms B.J. Kenewendo, as coordinator for SACU and Mozambique for the discussions with the UK on the rollover agreement, Lesotho’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr S H Lehana and eSwatini’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Manqoba Khumalo.
The Ministers considered a report on the outcome of the meeting of Senior Officials of SACU, Mozambique and the UK that took place from 17-19 July 2019 in Johannesburg.
The Ministers welcomed the efforts made to finalise the future UK, SACU, and Mozambique EPA to enable parties to maintain the current market access and replicate the effects of the existing EPA between the SADC EPA Group and the EU, to ensure continuity of trade between the UK, SACU and Mozambique once the UK exits the EU. The Ministers noted that SACU and Mozambique made a number of proposals to deal with the outstanding issues and that these provide a basis to move forward to conclude the rollover EPA with the UK.
Minister Patel emphasised the importance of exporters in SACU, Mozambique and the UK having certainty on the trade relationship between the parties once the UK exits the EU and urged that the outstanding issues be deal with as soon as possible.
Ministers indicated that the discussions between SACU, Mozambique and the UK should continue to conclude the outstanding issues as a matter of priority and that in this regard the interest and concerns of all the parties should be addressed and that the development commitments be retained.