26 June 2019

Namibia: Free Trade Agreement Reviewed

The mines and energy ministry has called on trade experts to find innovative ways to contribute to the success of the review process of the free trade area agreement.

The agreement was entered into by the European Free Trade Association (Efta) and the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) on 1 May 2008.

This call was made on Friday by the ministry's policy analyst, Jeanetha Tjitaura, during her presentation at a public discussion on international and domestic trade policy in Windhoek.

She explained that the Sacu and Efta states are currently in the process of reviewing the free trade agreement (FTA), whereas Namibia, Botswana and Eswatini (Swaziland) have made requests to expand the beef and mutton quota.

The agreement covers trade in goods by providing duty-free market access for most industrial goods, including fish and other marine products, and provides for concessions on processed agricultural products.

The Efta comprises Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, while Sacu is composed of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Eswatini (Swaziland).

Tjitaura stressed that Namibia's imports are currently higher than its exports, and that there is a need to export more in order for the country to generate more revenue.

Namibia plans to increase the beef quota under Article 2 of the protocol on beef from 500 to 1 500 tonnes.

Furthermore, the country is requesting the transposition of the 2 700 generalised system of preferences (GSP) quota into the Efta-Sacu agreement under article 2 of the protocol on beef.

Namibia is also requesting the transposition of the 400 tonnes of mutton currently under the GSP scheme into the main agreement, and to seek an additional 600 tonnes to increase it to 1 000 tonnes. - Nampa

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