Posted: February 17, 2019
South Africa to host first EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement Joint Council in Cape Town
|The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, will host the first European Union (EU) – Southern African Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreement Joint Council meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, on 19 February 2019.
South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that has been negotiated with the EU in June 2016. The EPA provisionally entered into force on 10 October 2016. The EPA replaced the trade chapter in the Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) between SA and the EU that entered into force on 1 January 2000.
Through the EPA South Africa gained improved market access into the EU for agricultural products such as wine, sugar, ethanol and fruit, as well as for fisheries. SA exports to the EU have increased from R214 Billion in 2015 to R262 Billion in 2017. SA exports to the EU are led by vehicles which contributed 26% of our total exports to the EU in 2017, followed by precious stones and metals, nuclear reactors, edible fruit and nuts and ores, slag and ash which contributed 17%, 8%, 8% and 7% respectively in the same year.
“Although South Africa has managed to increase exports of value-added products to the EU, thus contributing to South Africa’s industrial development objectives, there is still a need for further improvement in changing the structure of trade,” says Davies.
He adds that the first meeting of the Joint Council will provide an opportunity for the ministers of the SADC EPA States and the EU to discuss the state of play in the trade between the parties and how the EPA can contribute to inclusive and sustainable development. The ministers will also consider a number of procedural issues such as the approval of the rules of procedures of the various committees created to oversee the implementation of the EPA.
“The core objective of the SADC EPA Group and EU’s joint efforts in implementing the agreement must be to ensure that the EPA enables sustainable development in the SADC EPA States through changing the structure of trade, including the fundamental structural imbalance in the trade between the parties, and promote enhance value added trade” states Davies.