SACU chair announces finalisation of SACU Tariff Offer to AfCFTA
The current Chair of the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU), Cleopas Sipho Dlamini officially announced the finalisation of the SACU Tariff Offer on 18 February during the 36th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Dlamini in a statement reiterated SACU’s commitment to Africa’s integration and specifically the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The submission of the Tariff Schedule speaks to that commitment to ensure that the SACU business community take advantage of AfCFTA benefits.
At the same session, Botswana president, Eric Masisi, deposited their instruments for ratification of the AfCFTA meaning all SACU Member States have now ratified the agreement establishing the continental free trade area.
According to the statement, SACU submitted an initial Tariff Offer in November 2020, in preparation for the commencement of trading in January 2021 which needed further work to comply with the agreed modalities.
Subsequently, the region worked tirelessly to meet the threshold of 90% products to be liberalized. This process has now been completed as noted by the 11th Meeting of AfCFTA Council of Ministers responsible for Trade and Industry held from 11-12 February 2023, in Gaborone, Botswana.
The offer of 7111 tariff lines which represent 90% of the SACU Tariff Book in line with the Agreed Modalities for Tariff Liberalisation, was submitted to the AfCFTA Secretariat on 13 February 2023 for verification.
The SACU Secretariat is currently working in close collaboration with the AfCFTA Secretariat to facilitate the completion of technical verification of the offer. SACU anticipates that this process will be finalised soonest to facilitate the implementation of the agreement.
Meanwhile, the implementation of AfCFTA is one of the priority areas in the SACU Strategic plan. Therefore, SACU is also committed to ensure that the African Union theme of the year 2023 which is “The Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation,” is realised.