Sacu India Preferential Trade Agreement

The last round of negotiations on the SACU-EFTA Free Trade Agreement was held from 24 to 26 August 2005 in Pretoria, South Africa, where technical negotiations of the SACU-EFTA Free Trade Agreement on several trade agreements were concluded with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). These include the free trade agreement between the two parties and three separate bilateral agricultural agreements between SACU and Norway, Iceland and Switzerland/Liechtenstein. These four agreements are the instruments for the establishment of a free trade agreement between SACU and EFTA. The proposed agreement aims to reduce tariffs or tariffs on certain products. The agreement reached on 17 and 18 April 2008 will replace the agreement signed in Belo Horizonte (Brazil) in December 2004, due to substantial changes to the previous agreement. With regard to the major obstacles to the implementation of negotiations on a preferential trade agreement (EEA), the Minister stated that in India there were several taxes, such as tariffs, in the states. EFTA has provided SACU with unlimited duty- and quota-free access for industrial products with better rules of origin than those contained in the TDCA. EFTA has granted SACU limited but improved access to its agricultural markets. SACU offered EFTA what it proposed to the EU with regard to the South Africa-EU TDCA, both for agricultural products and for industrial products, with some adjustments (given the BLNS sensitivities and the errors made in the TDCA). SACU has ruled out preferential offers for products benefiting from export subsidies and trade-distorting aid. There is no commitment on the next-generation issues initially requested by EFTA (services, investments, competition, public procurement, public procurement). SACU concluded and signed a preferential trade agreement with MERCOSUR, signed by the Ministers of SACU and MERCOSUR in December 2004. The agreement included an integrated agenda for further negotiations on a number of issues, including rules of origin, SPS and specific requests for additional trade preferences for certain products on both sides.

Delhi-based The Economic Times reported that there were two reasons for the decision to resume discussions on the PTA: India`s historically close ties to southern Africa and its $66.7 billion in trade with Africa for the period 2019/20. The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) consists of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. It was founded in 1910, making it the oldest customs union in the world. The SACU agreement was revised in 1969 and 2002. In 2003, SACU began talks with the United States for a free trade agreement, but these were grounded in mid-2006 due to Washington`s high demands. In 2008, a trade and investment cooperation agreement in the area of development cooperation was signed as an interim measure for a comprehensive and final free trade agreement. In April 2005, SACU signed a preferential trade agreement with the South American bloc mercosur, the first free trade agreement. The agreement was revised in April 2008 to include other protocols. In 2006, SACU signed a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). In 2001, SACU and the United States of America began a process of concluding a free trade agreement between the two parties.

Due to differences of opinion on a number of issues, it was agreed in 2004 to suspend this process and explore an alternative approach to improving trade relations between the two parties. In February 2007, the two sides agreed to conclude a Trade, Investment and Cooperation Agreement (TIDCA). This agreement will serve as a framework for formal interaction between the two parties and will serve as the basis for the conclusion of separate agreements on technical issues.