Policy Development and Research | SACU

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Policy Development and Research

The Policy Development and Research Directorate facilitates and coordinates matters related to the development of harmonised policies, and the integration of the SACU Member States into the global economy through various trade agreements. The Directorate is also responsible for assisting SACU Member States with the implementation of the SACU Agreement objective of enhanced economic development, diversification, industrialisation, competitiveness, trade, investment and global economy integration. 

Sub-Directorate: Policy Development and Research

The Policy Development and Research Sub-Directorate is responsible for facilitating implementation of the strategic priorities related to industrialisation, including development of regional value chains, investment and export promotion; and facilitates cooperation in agricultural policies (Article 39). Furthermore, the sub-directorate: 

  1. facilitates cooperation between Member States on competition policies, laws and regulations (Article 40); 
  2. facilitate the development of policies and instruments to address unfair trade practices (Article 41); 
  3. facilitates harmonisation of technical regulations and product standards (Article28) and sanitary and phytosanitary measures (Article 30); and 
  4. coordinates the Secretariat’s research activities on economic and policy matters as far as they relate to SACU through designing, facilitating, undertaking and coordinating substantive research on policies that support the regional and global integration policy research programmer of SACU trade.

Sub-Directorate: Trade Negotiations

The Trade Negotiations Sub-Directorate coordinates and provides technical advice to the Member States on negotiations of trade agreements and their monitoring and implementation, as envisaged in Article 10 (8) of the SACU Agreement, 2002. 

The obligations of SACU in multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations are contained in Part Five of the SACU Agreement, 2002, dealing with Trade Liberalisation, and specifically in Article 31 on Trade Relations with Third Parties. This calls for the SACU Member States to negotiate trade agreements with third parties as a bloc, by virtue of them being in a Customs Union with a Common External Tariff.

Since 2002, the SACU Member States concluded several trade negotiations as a bloc with key trading partners. These include the following:

    1. Preferential Trade Agreement between SACU and the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) which comprises Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, was concluded in 2009 and entered into force on the 1st April 2016; Link to Agreement
    2. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between SACU and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which consists of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, was concluded in 2006 and entered into force on the 1st May 2008; Link to Agreement
    3. Economic Partnership Agreement between the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the European Union (EU), which came into provisional application in 10th October 2016; Link to Agreement
    4. Economic Partnership Agreement between SACU, Mozambique and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), was concluded in 2019 and entered into force on the 1st January 2021; Link to Agreement and
    5. Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) had entered into force on 30th May 2019 and start of trading on 1st January 2021. 

    The SACU Member States are also engaged in these ongoing trade negotiations:

      1. the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and SADC;
      2. Preferential Trade Agreement between SACU and India;
      3. review of the SACU-EFTA FTA; and
      4. negotiations on AfCFTA Phase I the build-in Agenda as well as Phase II.
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