On 10 June 2016 the EU signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the Southern Africa Development Community EPA Group comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland (the SADC EPA).
On 10 October 2016 that agreement entered into effect between the EU and five of those countries: with Mozambique in the process of ratifying the agreement and due to join immediately thereafter.
The SADC EPA represents the latest agreement in a scheme to create a free trade area between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). Like previous EPAs, a key objective is to support the conditions for increasing investment and economic growth in the SADC EPA states. The EU is the SADC EPA Group’s largest trading partner. Export products from the SADC region include, notably, diamonds (from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia) as well as agricultural products, oil and metals. Manufactured goods, wine and food products are exported from South Africa, the largest EU trading partner in the region. EU imports to the SADC EPA Group include vehicles, machinery, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals and processed food.
The key provisions of the SADC EPA are discussed below.