Policy Development and Research
The process of considering competition issues within SACU is driven by the Article 40 and Article 41 of the 2002 SACU Agreement. Article 40 deals with competition policy and the requirement for Member States to all have competition policies as a pre-requisite for a SACU wide cooperation mechanism. The cooperation mechanism should also point out the process with respect to the enforcement of competition policies and regulations within SACU.
Article 41 requires that policies and instruments be developed to address unfair trade practices between Member States and for these to be annexed to the SACU Agreement. When the new SACU Agreement came into effect in 2004, the process of developing annexes to these articles started with an initiative by the Trade and Industry Liaison Committee work on the development of an Annex on Unfair Trade Practices as contained in Article 41.
Initially, in the absence of a Secretariat, the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho agreed to coordinate the process. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) funded the work and also provided resources in the form of intellectual expertise. As a first outcome, a study was undertaken and the findings were presented and discussed at workshops during 2004 to ensure a consultative process within Member States. The study investigated options for SACU, concentrating on the relevant Articles in the SACU Agreement and highlighted possibilities of how SACU could deal with unfair trade practices and related issues.
With the establishment and subsequent staffing of the Secretariat, the Trade and Industry Liaison Committee agreed that coordination of this work should shift to the Secretariat with the continued support of UNCTAD, work towards developing a draft Annex on Unfair Trade Practices and cooperating mechanisms on competition policy, competition law and regulations be undertaken.
The draft annexes to the 2002 SACU Agreement on unfair trade practices and cooperating mechanisms on competition policy, competition law and regulations are currently being finalized on in terms of Article 40 and Article 41.