NAMIBIA along with other members of the Southern African Customs Union as well as Mozambique in principle agreed upon continuing with its existing Economic Partnership Agreement with the United Kingdom after its so called No-Deal exit from the European Union at the end of October this year.
The new agreement follows the decision of the UK in 2016 to leave the European Union (EU).
In this regard the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Mozambique and the United Kingdom (UK) Ministers agreed to roll-over the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the SADC EPA States (EU-SADC EPA) into a new Agreement.
According to a statement by the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry of Botswana and Coordinator for SACU-Mozambique-UK Dialogue, Ontlametse Ward, the roll-over part of the new agreement was on the understanding that adjustments may be needed to address specific matters.
In this regard senior officials from the SACU Member States Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa and the United Kingdom reached an agreement in principle and initialled the text of the new agreement in Gaborone, Botswana on Tuesday 10 September 2019. Mozambique was also included in the discussions and initial agreements.
SACU and Mozambique (SACUM) initialled the final texts on the 8th and 9th of September 2019 respectively, while the UK initialled the texts on the 10th of September 2019.
“The initialled Agreement will now be presented for approval in each country to facilitate signature and subsequent ratification according to the domestic processes of each country.”
According to Ward the new agreement will enter into force upon the completion of the approval processes.
“However pending ratification, the Parties agreed to develop a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding which would be used as the basis to provisionally apply the effects of the EU-SADC EPA until the domestic ratification processes in each country have been completed.”
Ward said the conclusion of the SACU, Mozambique and UK EPA marks a decisive step towards ensuring continuity of trade and avoiding any potential trade disruptions when the UK leaves the EU on the 31st of October 2019.
She was of the opinion that the new agreement will inject confidence and predictability to maintain current trade and potentially unlock further investments in the development of regional value chains.
Ward said the parties remain committed to resolving the outstanding issues identified in the Built-in Agenda and the Transitional Arrangement within agreed timelines to ensure maximum commercially meaningful benefits that could be derived from it.