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SACU

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) consists of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. It was established in 1910, making the oldest customs union in the world. The SACU agreement was revised in 1969 and in 2002.

As a customs union, the members implement one common external tariff with outside countries and charge no duties on trade between them.

SACU is increasingly involved in bilateral FTAs with foreign trade partners, mainly because it forms a single customs territority with South Africa as its powerhouse economy:

- In 2003, SACU started FTA talks with the US, but these were grounded by mid-2006 due to Washington’s high demands. In 2008, a Trade and Investment Development Cooperation Agreement was signed instead, as an interim measure towards a full and final FTA.
- In April 2005, SACU signed a preferential trade agreement with the southern Latin American bloc Mercosur, its first FTA. The agreement was revised, to incorporate further protocols, in April 2008.
- In 2006, SACU signed an FTA with the European Free Trade Area (EFTA).

In 2010, the SACU Secretariat also commissioned a study into a potential SACU-East African Community (EAC) trade agreement. In 2011, SACU agreed to a set of principles to guide FTAs, and prioritized pursuing deals with Mercosur and India.

The ambitious project to forge an FTA between India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) may actually revolve around India, Mercosur and SACU.

last update: May 2012


Textile industry face misty future
How time flies! It seems like yesterday when Malawi was celebrating the extension of its free market access to the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) for textiles but now the country only has 25 days before the deal expires.
NMA seeks fair trade within Sacu
The Namibian Manufacturers’ Association (NMA) has spoken out against competition issues and unfair trade practices in the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu).
Tanzania turns to Southern African Customs Union
Tanzania is likely to enter into a trade agreement with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) allowing the East African nation to export textile and clothing material on preferential terms within the trading bloc’s countries.
Sacu undecided on textile deal
What a blow. The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) has not yet made up its mind on extension of the duty-free market access for four textiles and garment exporting countries, including Malawi, Economic Report has learnt.
Cooperation between SADC and SACU
The Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community, Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomao, says exchanges made during his meeting with the Southern African Customs Union Executive Secretary, Tswelopele Moremi, will increase cooperation between SADC and SACU.
SA union signs trade agreement with Mercosur
Countries making up the South African Customs (SACU) Union have signed a preferential trade agreement with Mercosur, South America’s trading bloc. However, trade negotiations with the US have run into problems.