SA hosts Preferential Trade Agreement talks

Monday, May 29, 2017

Pretoria - South Africa recently hosted the inaugural Joint Administration Committee (JAC) for the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) and the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) in Johannesburg.

During the recent meeting, the parties agreed to jointly consider opportunities to use various channels to promote the MERCOSUR-SACU Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) by including their trade promotion agencies, chambers of commerce, private sector, and their respective embassies and foreign missions.

The PTA aims to promote trade between MERCOSUR and SACU regions. It offers preferences on over 1000 tariff lines from each side at the Margins of Preference ranging between 10% and 100%.

“The PTA covers products such as agricultural and agro-processed products; mineral and chemical products; plastics and rubbers products; textiles and clothing products; precious and metal products; machinery and electrical products; transportation products; and miscellaneous products,” said MERCOSUR and SACU in a joint statement.

The agreement was signed on 15 December 2008 in Salvador, Brazil, by MERCOSUR member states, and on 3 April 2009 in Maseru, Lesotho, by SACU member states. The ratification process was concluded in February 2014 and December 2015 by the SACU and MERCOSUR member states, respectively.

In accordance with Article 36 of the PTA, the Agreement entered into force on 1 April 2016.

“The entry into force of the Agreement marks an important milestone in South-South cooperation and provides an opportunity to enhance bilateral trade between the parties.”

The inaugural meeting of the JAC was Co-chaired by the Department of Trade and Industry’s Deputy Director General: International Trade and Economic Development on behalf of SACU Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter, and Ambassador Roberto Salafia, National Director for Economic and Commercial Issues of MERCOSUR in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Argentina, on behalf of MERCOSUR.

The responsibilities of the JAC, are to ensure administration and full implementation of the agreement.

The JAC envisages to establish working groups and committees.

At the meeting, the JAC assessed progress towards full implementation of the agreement and noted various opportunities presented by the agreement, challenges encountered by the parties to operationalise the PTA, and further agreed on the timelines for completion of outstanding work.

The next meeting of the JAC will be held in MERCOSUR in 2018. – SAnews.gov.za

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