The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in 2016, known as the EFTA-SACU FTA. This agreement was put in place to promote trade between the two regions and remove barriers to trade.
The EFTA is composed of four countries: Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. SACU, on the other hand, is a customs union comprised of five member states: South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Eswatini.
The EFTA-SACU FTA covers a wide range of trade areas, including industrial goods, agricultural products, and fish and seafood. Under this agreement, tariffs on goods traded between the two regions are eliminated, making it easier and cheaper for businesses to trade with each other.
One major benefit of this agreement for EFTA countries is improved access to the South African market. This is particularly beneficial for Swiss and Norwegian exporters, who previously faced high tariffs on their exports to South Africa. The elimination of these tariffs will make their exports more competitive and increase trade between the two regions.
For SACU countries, the EFTA-SACU FTA also provides new opportunities for trade and investment. The agreement is expected to increase exports of agricultural products, such as beef and wine, to the EFTA countries. This is important for SACU countries, as agriculture is a major source of employment and income in the region.
The EFTA-SACU FTA also includes provisions for the protection of intellectual property rights, which is essential for promoting innovation and growth in both regions. In addition, the agreement includes measures to promote sustainable development and environmental protection.
Overall, the EFTA-SACU FTA is an important agreement that will benefit both regions by promoting trade and removing barriers to trade. It is expected to boost exports, increase investment, and create new opportunities for businesses in both regions. With the agreement in place, businesses in EFTA and SACU countries can look forward to a brighter future in terms of cross-border trade and economic growth.