EU Commission - DG Trade
The EU welcomes South Africa in the SADC EPA negotiation
Brussels, 14 February 2007
The EU Council of Ministers, meeting in Brussels on 12 February, accepted to include South Africa in the SADC EPA negotiation. This is the EU response to a proposal tabled by SADC in March 2006.
The EU considers that the incorporation of South Africa into the SADC EPA negotiation creates a more consistent framework for the economic integration of the region. However, this is subject to certain conditions regarding Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania, the scope of the future agreement and the definition of tariff offers.
The SADC request to grant a non reciprocal duty free quota free access to the EU market to Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania in a contractual form is not WTO compatible. The EU wishes, however, to keep these countries on board of the EPA negotiation and is willing to explore all possible options compatible with WTO standards, taking into consideration the legitimate concerns of these countries, and of least developed countries in general.
Contrary to the SADC proposal, the EU considers that the EPA should not limit itself to market provisions for goods only and leave aside all references to trade in services and regulatory supply side commitments (e.g. investment, government procurement, trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, competition, labour and environment). These issues are important for the sustainable development dimension of the EPA and would contribute strongly to a deeper regional integration.
The EPA should aim at achieving full market access to the EU to the greatest extent possible, while recognizing the need to address the import regime for a few sensitive products. Due to South Africa’s level of development and degree of competitiveness, it is, however, inevitable to grant a different treatment for the access of South African products to the EU market. Such a differentiated approach should also apply to new generation issues as highlighted above, for which a broader upfront commitment is expected from South Africa, whilst regional integration in these areas will deepen over time.