SADC is increasingly supporting free trade as part of its poverty eradication programme in Southern Africa. As part of its long-term regional integration objectives, SADC established a free trade area in 2008. In this area, Member States have abolished customs duties on trade, but have been able to impose their own external customs duties on imports from third countries. In January 2008, 12 Member States signed free trade agreements that reduced tariffs to 85% of intra-regional imports. Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Seychelles have yet to join the free trade area. Non-participating Member States are currently assisted by the Secretariat for Accession. As the process of eliminating tariffs on sensitive products continues until 2012, there is still potential for expansion of intra-SADC trade, given that most of the products are on the sensitive list, such as textiles and clothing, leather and leather products. SADC establishes a trade and compliance monitoring mechanism to monitor the implementation of the free trade area, with a specific mechanism to identify and eliminate non-tariff barriers. This mechanism has the potential to facilitate the movement of goods and will lead to increased trade. Improved trade opportunities for goods: The EPA guarantees duty- and quota-free access to the EU market for Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini. South Africa benefits from new market access compared to the EU-South Africa Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), which currently governs trade relations with the EU until October 2016 (when the EPA entered into force provisionally, thus eliminating the trade component of the TDCA). The new access includes better trading conditions, particularly in the agriculture and fisheries sector, notably for wine, sugar, fishery products, flowers and fruit cans.
The EU will benefit from significant new access to the Southern African Customs Union (wheat, barley, cheese, meat products and butter) and will be guaranteed a bilateral agreement with Mozambique, one of the least developed countries in the region. Since 2000, when the implementation of the SADC Trade Protocol began, intra-SADC trade has more than doubled, with intra-SADC trade increasing from about $13.2 billion in 2000 to about $34 billion in 2009, an increase of about 155 per cent. A successful merger of the existing free trade areas, SADC, COMESA and EAC, would allow duty-free trade, without quotas, without exception, in a much larger region. The proposal for a tripartite free trade area would promote, through a number of complementary programmes, an increase in intra-regional trade in the tripartite region: geographical indications: the EPA contains a bilateral protocol between the EU and South Africa on the protection of geographical indications and trade in wines and spirits. The EU will protect names such as Rooibos, the famous South African infusion and many wine names such as Stellenbosch and Paarl. In return, South Africa will protect more than 250 European names divided between the categories of food, wine and spirits. SADC aims to facilitate trade by simplifying, harmonizing, standardizing and modernizing regional customs procedures. Relative to SADC trade as a whole, intra-SADC trade increased from only 15.7% to 18.5% over the same period. . . .