To what extent does the economic partnership agreements signed

QUOTE

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO:       2265

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 28 OF 13 NOVEMBER 2009

MR K MUBU (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:

  1. To what extent does the economic partnership agreements signed between the European Union (EU) and some member countries of the (a) Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the (b) Southern African Customs Union (SACU)

                        (i) impact on regional integration in the sub-region,
                        (ii) affect revenue sharing among SACU member countries and
(iii) affect future diplomatic and economic ties between South Africa and SADC and/or SACU countries?     NW2975E

REPLY:

(1)(i)    The Southern African Customs Union is the oldest customs union in the world and it is therefore of concern to the Republic of South Africa that she may have to take precautionary tariff measures at her borders with Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland (BLS) in order to ensure the protection of South African goods against cheaper European imports. Such a development would fracture the Southern African Custom Union and roll back the integration processes that have already taken place. The EPAs therefore pose a challenge to future customs integration within the region; however, South Africa remains committed to the conclusion of EPAs which are favourable to all parties.
                       
(1)(ii)   If the IEPA is implemented in its current state and without amendment, the functioning of SACU as a customs union would complicate the revenue sharing formula as there will no longer be an external common tariff in trade with the EU amongst SACU members. The external common tariff is the basis for the revenue-sharing formula.

 (1)(iii) South Africa maintains strong diplomatic ties with all countries within the SADC region and will remain committed to these relationships as Africa is a key element of South Africa’s foreign policy, as well as a commitment to regional integration. The EPAs will not affect South Africa’s position towards its neighbours and will have no change to its foreign policy in this regard.

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