Key Projects - What we do | SACU

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Key Projects

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Progamme

The Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programme is as a flagship Customs-Business partnership which presents mutual benefits that enables SACU Customs Authorities to share compliance and security responsibilities with the private sector, while rewarding them with various trade facilitation perks. Such partnership initiatives hold the promise of enabling revenue administrations to achieve greater efficiency, aiming for sustainable and long-term voluntary compliance through incentivisation.

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Implementation AfCFTA in SACU

In line with the decision of the 13th Extra Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly held on 5th December 2020, trading under the AfCFTA started on the 1st January 2021. SACU regards the AfCFTA as a strategic continental instrument; hence, the implementation and leveraging of the AfCFTA has been prioritised as one of the pillars that underpin the recently approved SACU Strategic Plan for 2022–2027. SACU aims to position itself to take full advantage of the AfCFTA through industrialisation, the development of regional value chains, export promotion and investment attraction and promotion.

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Trade Relations with Third Parties

Part 5 of the SACU Agreement, 2002 (as amended in 2013), provides for Trade Liberalisation. Article 31 on Trade Relations with Third Parties establishes a framework that facilitates the region's integration into the global economy, fostering increased trade and participation in global value chains. SACU Member States have pursued a unified approach to negotiations with third parties. Since 2002, Member States have concluded several trade negotiations as a bloc with some key trading partners. Article 31 of the 2002 SACU Agreement require the SACU Member States to negotiate trade agreements with third parties as a collective. The SACU Secretariat coordinates the SACU negotiating agenda, i.e. negotiations with third parties, and implementation of agreements. Member States conduct the negotiations and implement the agreements. The SACU Secretariat further supports policy development and harmonisation of national policies and strategies of SACU Member States as far as they relate to SACU.

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Development of Regional Value Chain

As of October 2020, SACU undertook to promote industrial development through the development of regional value chains (RVCs), export promotion, and investment. The main goal being contribution towards an integrated regional market that would enhance Member States’ international competitiveness. The SACU Strategic Plan also seeks to improve the region’s industrial base, promote sectoral complementarities in production, as well as backward and forward linkages that would promote diversification across the region. Furthermore, the SACU region, through this Programme, will pursue a systematic approach and practical steps to deepening industrialisation whilst simultaneously positioning the region to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

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