EU - SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (2016)
Next page


ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the SADC EPA States, of the other part


























Contracting Parties to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union, hereinafter referred to as "the Member States of the European Union"








hereinafter referred to as the "Southern African Development Community Economic Partnership Agreement States", of the other part (the SADC EPA States'),

CONSIDERING the Parties' wish to further strengthen their trade links and establish close and lasting relations based on partnership and cooperation;

CONVINCED that this Agreement will further deepen and encourage economic and trade relations between the Parties;

DESIRING to create new employment opportunities, attract investment and improve living standards in the territories of the Parties while promoting sustainable development;

RECOGNISING the importance of development finance cooperation for the implementation of this Agreement;

RECOGNISING the efforts by the SADC EPA States to ensure economic and social development for their peoples in the context of deepening regional integration in the Southern African Development Community region (SADC region);

CONFIRMING the Parties' commitment to promote regional cooperation and economic integration, and to encourage the liberalisation of trade in the SADC region;

RECOGNISING the special needs and interests of the SADC EPA States and the need to address their diverse levels of economic development, geographic and socio-economic concerns;

RECOGNISING the special circumstances of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (BLNS States’) in this Agreement and the need to take into account the effects on them of trade liberalisation under the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement between South Africa and the European Community and its Member States, signed on 11 October 1999 (TDCA;

RECOGNISING the special circumstances and needs of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of the SADC EPA States through the use of special and differential treatment and asymmetry;

RECOGNISING the special circumstances of Lesotho as the only LDC in SACU and that the impact of the reduction of the tariff revenue as a result of the TDCA and this Agreement necessitates priority in aid for trade;

RECOGNISING the special circumstances of those SADC EPA States emerging from long-term armed conflict, necessi- tating special and differential treatment and asymmetry;

TAKING ACCOUNT of the Parties' rights and obligations in terms of their membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and reaffirming the importance of the multilateral trading system;

RECALLING the importance attached by the Parties to the principles and rules governing the multilateral trading system and to the need to apply them in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner;

BEARING IN MIND the Partnership Agreement between the Members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States of the one part, and the European Community (EC) and its Member States of the other part, signed on 23 June 2000 and revised on 25 June 2005 ("Cotonou Agreement");

CONFIRMING the Parties' commitment to and support for economic development in the SADC EPA States to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);


BEARING IN MIND Parties' commitment to ensuring that their mutual arrangements support the process of regional integration under the Treaty of the Southern African Development Community, signed on 17 August 1992, as amended (SADC Treaty);

RECOGNISING the particular case of the Southern African Customs Union ("SACU") established under the Southern African Customs Union Agreement, 2002, between the Governments of the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Swaziland, signed on 21 October 2002 ("SACU Agreement");

CONFIRMING the Parties' support and encouragement for the process of trade liberalisation;

EMPHASISING the importance of agriculture and sustainable development in poverty alleviation in the SADC EPA States;

HAVE AGREED to conclude this Agreement:



Chapter I. General Provisions

Article 1. Objectives

The objectives of this Agreement are to:

(a) contribute to the reduction and eradication of poverty through the establishment of a trade partnership consistent with the objective of sustainable development, the MDGs and the Cotonou Agreement;

(b) promote regional integration, economic cooperation and good governance to establish and implement an effective, predictable and transparent regional regulatory framework for trade and investment between the Parties and among the SADC EPA States;

(c) promote the gradual integration of the SADC EPA States into the world economy in conformity with their political choices and development priorities;

(d) improve the SADC EPA States' capacity in trade policy and trade-related issues;

(e) support the conditions for increasing investment and private sector initiatives and enhancing supply capacity, competitiveness and economic growth in the SADC EPA States; and

(f) strengthen the existing relations between the Parties on the basis of solidarity and mutual interest. To this end, consistent with WTO obligations, this Agreement shall enhance commercial and economic relations, consolidate the implementation of the Protocol on Trade in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region, signed on 24 August 1996 (SADC Protocol on Trade’) and the SACU Agreement, support a new trading dynamic between the Parties by means of the progressive, asymmetrical liberalisation of trade between them and reinforce, broaden and deepen cooperation in all areas relevant to trade.

Article 2. Principles

1. This Agreement is based on the Fundamental Principles, as well as the Essential and Fundamental Elements, as set out in Articles 2 and 9, respectively, of the Cotonou Agreement. This Agreement shall build on the achievements of the Cotonou Agreement, the TDCA and the previous ACP-EC agreements in regional cooperation and integration, as well as economic and trade cooperation.

2. This Agreement shall be implemented in a complementary and mutually reinforcing manner with respect to the Cotonou Agreement and the TDCA, subject to Articles 110 and 111.

3. The Parties agree to cooperate to implement this Agreement in a manner that is consistent with the development policies and regional integration programmes in which the SADC EPA States are or may be involved.

4. The Parties agree to cooperate to fulfil their commitments and obligations and to facilitate the capacity of the SADC EPA States to implement this Agreement.

Article 3. Regional Integration

1. The Parties recognise that regional integration is an integral element of their partnership and a powerful instrument to achieve the objectives of this Agreement.

2. The Parties reaffirm the importance of regional and sub-regional integration among the SADC EPA States to achieve greater economic opportunities, enhanced political stability and to foster the effective integration of developing countries into the world economy.

3. The Parties support, in particular, the integration processes based on the SACU Agreement, the SADC Treaty, and the Constitutive Act of the African Union adopted on 11 July 2000, as well as the development policies and political objectives related to such processes. The Parties aim at implementing this Agreement in a mutually supportive manner with those instruments, taking into account the respective levels of development, needs, geographical realities and sustainable development strategies.

Article 4. Monitoring

1. The Parties undertake to continuously monitor the operation and impact of this Agreement through appropriate mechanisms and timing within their respective participative processes and institutions, as well as those set up under this Agreement, in order to ensure that the objectives of this Agreement are achieved, that it is properly implemented and that the benefits for their people deriving from it, in particular the most vulnerable groups, are maximised.

2. The Parties undertake to consult each other promptly over any issue concerning the implementation of this Agreement.

Article 5. Cooperation In International Fora

The Parties shall endeavour to cooperate in all international fora where issues relevant to this Agreement are discussed.

Chapter II. Trade and Sustainable Development

Article 6. Context and Objectives

1. The Parties recall the Agenda 21 on Environment and Development of 1992, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of 1998, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation on Sustainable Development of 2002, the Ministerial Declaration of the UN Economic and Social Council on Full Employment and Decent Work of 2006, the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation of 2008 and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development of 2012 entitled ”The Future We Want“.

2. The Parties reaffirm their commitments to promote the development of international trade in such a way as to contribute to the objective of sustainable development, in its three pillars (economic development, social development, and environmental protection) for the welfare of present and future generations, and will strive to ensure that this objective is integrated and reflected at every level of their trade relationship.

3. The provisions of this Chapter shall not be subject to the provisions of PART Ill, with the exception of Article 7.

Article 7. Sustainable Development

1. The Parties reaffirm that the objective of sustainable development is to be applied and integrated at every level of their economic partnership, in fulfilment of the overriding commitments set out in Articles 1, 2 and 9 of the Cotonou Agreement, and especially the general commitment to reducing and eventually eradicating poverty in a way that is consistent with the objectives of sustainable development.

2. The Parties understand this objective to apply in the case of this Agreement as a commitment that

(a) the application of this Agreement shall fully take into account the human, cultural, economic, social, health and en- vironmental best interests of their respective populations and of future generations; and

(b) the decision-making methods embrace the fundamental principles of ownership, participation and dialogue.

3. As a result, the Parties agree to work cooperatively towards the achievement of people-centred sustainable development.

Article 8. Multilateral Environmental and Labour Standards and Agreements

1. The Parties recognise the value of international environmental governance and agreements as a response of the in- ternational community to global or regional environmental problems as well as decent work for all as a key element of sustainable development for all countries and as a priority objective of international cooperation.

2. Taking into account the Cotonou Agreement, and in particular its Articles 49 and 50, the Parties, in the context of this Article, reaffirm their rights and their commitment to implement their obligations in respect of the Multilateral En- vironmental Agreements (MEAs) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions that they have ratified respectively.

Article 9. Right to Regulate and Levels of Protection

1. The Parties recognise the right of each Party to establish its own levels of domestic environmental and labour protection, and to adopt or modify accordingly its relevant laws and policies, consistently with internationally recognised standards and agreements to which they are a party.

2. The Parties reaffirm the importance of protection as afforded in domestic labour and environmental laws.

3. Recognising that it is inappropriate to encourage trade or investment by weakening or reducing domestic levels of labour and environmental protection, a Party shall not derogate from, or persistently fail to effectively enforce, its en- vironmental and labour laws to this end.

Article 10. Trade and Investment Favouring Sustainable Development

1. The Parties reconfirm their commitment to enhance the contribution of trade and investment to the goal of sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions.

2. A Party may request, through the Trade and Development Committee, consultations with the other Party regarding any matter arising under this Chapter.

3. Dialogue and cooperation on this Chapter by the Parties, through the Trade and Development Committee, may involve other relevant authorities and stakeholders.

Article 11. Working Together on Trade and Sustainable Development

1. The Parties recognise the importance of working together on trade related aspects of environmental and labour policies in order to achieve the objectives of this Agreement.

2. The Parties may exchange information and share experience on their actions to promote coherence and mutual supportiveness between trade, social and environmental objectives, and shall strengthen dialogue and cooperation on sustainable development issues that may arise in the context of trade relations.

3. In respect of paragraphs 1 and 2, the Parties may cooperate, inter alia, in the following areas:

(a) the trade aspects of labour or environmental policies in international fora, such as the ILO Decent Work Agenda and

(b) the impact of this Agreement on sustainable development;

(c) corporate social responsibility and accountability;

(d) trade aspects of mutual interest to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity;

(e) trade aspects of sustainable forest management; and

(f) trade aspects of sustainable fishing practices.

Chapter III. Areas of Cooperation

Article 12. Development Cooperation

1. The Parties commit to cooperating in order to implement this Agreement and to support the SADC EPA Statesâ€' trade and development strategies within the overall SADC regional integration process. The cooperation may take both financial and non-financial forms.

2. The Parties recognise that development cooperation is a crucial element of their Partnership and an essential factor for the achievement of the objectives of this Agreement as laid down in Article 1. Development finance cooperation for regional economic cooperation and integration, as provided for in the Cotonou Agreement, shall be carried out to support and promote the efforts of the SADC EPA States to achieve the objectives and to maximise the expected benefits of this Agreement. Areas of cooperation and technical assistance are set out in this Agreement, as appropriate. Cooperation shall be implemented according to the modalities provided for in this Article. Such modalities shall be kept under ongoing review and shall be revised as necessary in accordance with the provisions of Article 116.

3. The EU (1) financing pertaining to development cooperation between the SADC EPA States and the EU supporting the implementation of this Agreement shall be carried out within the framework of the rules and relevant procedures provided for by the Cotonou Agreement, in particular the programming procedures of the European Development Fund, and within the framework of the relevant instruments financed by the General Budget of the Union. In this context, supporting the implementation of this Agreement shall be a priority.

4. The Member States of the European Union collectively undertake to support, by means of their respective development policies and instruments, development cooperation activities for regional economic cooperation and integration and for the implementation of this Agreement in the SADC EPA States and at regional level, in conformity with the principles of complementarity and aid effectiveness such as those contained in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness of 2005 and the Accra Agenda for Action of 2008.

5. The Parties recognise that adequate resources will be required for the implementation of this Agreement and the fullest achievement of its benefits. In this respect, the Parties shall cooperate to enable the SADC EPA States to access other financial instruments as well as facilitate other donors willing to further support the efforts of the SADC EPA States in achieving the objectives of this Agreement.

6. The Parties agree that a regional development financing mechanism such as an EPA fund would provide a useful instrument for efficiently channelling development financial resources and for implementing EPA accompanying measures. The EU agrees to support the efforts of the region to set up such a mechanism. The EU will contribute to the fund following a satisfactory audit.

(1) The term "EU" used throughout this Agreement is defined in Article 104.

Article 13. Cooperation Priorities

1. For the purpose of implementing this Agreement and taking into account the development policies of the SADC EPA States, the Parties agree that the areas listed in this Article and in Article 14 are priority areas for trade and economic cooperation.

2. Cooperation in trade in goods shall aim at enhancing trade in goods and the SADC EPA States capacity to trade, including by phasing out tariffs and customs duties in line with liberalisation commitments laid down in this Agreement, by properly implementing rules of origin, trade defence instruments, non-tariff measures, sanitary and phytosanitary ("SPS") standards, and technical barriers to trade (TBT), by addressing non-tariff measures and by promoting customs cooperation and trade facilitation.

3. Cooperation in supply-side competitiveness shall aim at increasing the competitiveness of the SADC EPA States and remove supply side constraints at national, institutional and, in particular, at company level. This cooperation includes, amongst others, fields such as production, technology development and innovation, marketing, financing, distribution, transport, diversification of economic base, as well as development of the private sector, improvement of the trade and business environment and support to small and medium enterprises in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, industry and services.

4. Cooperation in business enhancing infrastructure shall aim at developing a competitive business enhancing environment in areas such as information and communication technology, transport and energy.

5. The Parties agree to cooperate to develop and enhance trade in services as provided for in Article 73.

6. The Parties agree to cooperate, to develop and enhance trade-related issues as provided for in Articles 8 to 11, 16 to 19, 73 and 74.

7. Cooperation in trade data shall aim at improving the capacity of the SADC EPA States in the area of trade data capture, analysis and dissemination.

8. Cooperation for EPA institutional capacity building shall aim at supporting institutional structures for EPA implementation management, capacity building for trade negotiations and for trade policy in cooperation with the relevant institutional mechanisms established under the SADC Treaty and SACU Agreement or in the respective SADC EPA States.

Article 14. Cooperation on Fiscal Adjustment

1. The Parties recognise that the phasing out or reduction of customs duties laid down in this Agreement may affect the fiscal revenues of the SADC EPA States and agree to cooperate on this matter.

2. The Parties agree to cooperate, in accordance with Article 12, in particular on: (a) support to fiscal reforms; and

(b) support measures complementary to fiscal reforms for the mitigation of the net fiscal impact of this Agreement to be determined in accordance with a jointly agreed mechanism.

3. The Parties recognise that the impact of tariff reduction will particularly affect Lesotho’s fiscal revenues and agree to pay particular attention to Lesotho’s situation in the application of Article 12.

Article 15. Types of Interventions

Development cooperation under this Agreement may include, but is not limited to, the following interventions related to this Agreement:

(a) policy development;

(b) legislation and regulatory framework development;

(c) institutional/organisational development;

(d) capacity building and training (1);

(e) technical advisory services;

(f) administrative services;

(g) support in SPS and TBT areas; and

(h) operational support including equipment, materials and related works.

(1) For the purpose of this Article, ‘capacity building’ may include in particular training, institutional development, organisational development (structures and procedures), operational support and inter-institutional communication and cooperation procedures.

Article 16. Cooperation on Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

1. The Parties reaffirm their commitments under Article 46 of the Cotonou Agreement and their rights, obligations and flexibilities as set out in the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property, contained in Annex IC to the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organisation (TRIPS Agreement).

Page 1 Next page
  • Chapter   I General Provisions 1
  • Article   1 Objectives 1
  • Article   2 Principles 1
  • Article   3 Regional Integration 1
  • Article   4 Monitoring 1
  • Article   5 Cooperation In International Fora 1
  • Chapter   II Trade and Sustainable Development 1
  • Article   6 Context and Objectives 1
  • Article   7 Sustainable Development 1
  • Article   8 Multilateral Environmental and Labour Standards and Agreements 1
  • Article   9 Right to Regulate and Levels of Protection 1
  • Article   10 Trade and Investment Favouring Sustainable Development 1
  • Article   11 Working Together on Trade and Sustainable Development 1
  • Chapter   III Areas of Cooperation 1
  • Article   12 Development Cooperation 1
  • Article   13 Cooperation Priorities 1
  • Article   14 Cooperation on Fiscal Adjustment 1
  • Article   15 Types of Interventions 1
  • Article   16 Cooperation on Protection of Intellectual Property Rights 1
  • Article   17 Cooperation on Public Procurement 2
  • Article   18 Cooperation on Competition 2
  • Article   19 Cooperation on Tax Governance 2
  • Chapter   I Trade In Goods 2
  • Article   20 Free Trade Area 2
  • Article   21 Scope 2
  • Article   22 Rules of Origin 2
  • Article   23 Customs Duty 2
  • Article   24 Customs Duties of the EU on Products Originating In the SADC EPA States 2
  • Article   25 Customs Duties of the SADC EPA States on Products Originating In the EU 2
  • Article   26 Export Duties or Taxes 2
  • Article   27 Fees and Charges 2
  • Article   28 More Favourable Treatment Resulting from Free Trade Agreements 2
  • Article   29 Free Circulation 2
  • Article   30 Special Provisions on Administrative Cooperation 2
  • Article   31 Management of Administrative Errors 2
  • Chapter   II Trade Defence Instruments 2
  • Article   32 Anti-dumping and Countervailing Measures 2
  • Article   33 Multilateral Safeguards 2
  • Article   34 General Bilateral Safeguards 2
  • Article   35 Agricultural Safeguards 2
  • Article   36 Food Security Safeguards 3
  • Article   37 BLNS Transitional Safeguards 3
  • Article   38 Infant Industry Protection Safeguards 3
  • Chapter   III Non-tariff Measures 3
  • Article   39 Prohibition of Quantitative Restrictions 3
  • Article   40 National Treatment on Internal Taxation and Regulation 3
  • Chapter   IV Customs and Trade Facilitation 3
  • Article   41 Objectives 3
  • Article   42 Customs and Administrative Cooperation 3
  • Article   43 Customs Legislation and Procedures 3
  • Article   44 Facilitation of Transit Movements 3
  • Article   45 Relations with the Business Community 3
  • Article   46 Customs Valuation 3
  • Article   47 Harmonisation of Customs Standards at Regional Level 3
  • Article   48 Support to the SADC EPA States' Customs Administrations 3
  • Article   49 Transitional Arrangements 3
  • Article   50 Special Committee on Customs and Trade Facilitation 3
  • Chapter   V Technical Barriers to Trade 3
  • Article   51 Multilateral Obligations 3
  • Article   52 Objectives 3
  • Article   53 Scope and Definitions 3
  • Article   54 Collaboration and Regional Integration 3
  • Article   55 Transparency 4
  • Article   56 Measures related to technical barriers to trade 4
  • Article   57 Role of the Trade and Development Committee on TBT matters 4
  • Article   58 Capacity building and technical assistance 4
  • Chapter   VI Sanitary and phytosanitary measures 4
  • Article   59 Multilateral obligations 4
  • Article   60 Objectives 4
  • Article   61 Scope and definitions 4
  • Article   62 Competent authorities 4
  • Article   63 Transparency 4
  • Article   64 Exchange of information 4
  • Article   65 Role of the Trade and Development Committee on SPS matters 4
  • Article   66 Consultations 4
  • Article   67 Cooperation, capacity building and technical assistance 4
  • Chapter   VII Agriculture 4
  • Article   68 Cooperation on agriculture 4
  • Chapter   VII Current payments and capital movements 4
  • Article   69 Current payments 4
  • Article   70 Safeguard measures 4
  • Article   71 Balance of payment difficulties 4
  • Chapter   IX Trade in services and investment 4
  • Article   72 Objectives 4
  • Article   73 Trade in services 4
  • Article   74 Trade and investment 4
  • Chapter   I Objective and scope 4
  • Article   75 Objective 4
  • Article   76 Scope 4
  • Chapter   II Consultations and mediation 4
  • Article   77 Consultations 4
  • Article   78 Mediation 4
  • Chapter   III Dispute settlement procedures 4
  • Article   79 Initiation of the arbitration procedure 4
  • Article   80 Establishment of the arbitration panel 4
  • Article   81 Interim panel report 4
  • Article   82 Arbitral ruling 4
  • Article   83 Compliance with the arbitral ruling 4
  • Article   84 The reasonable period of time for compliance 4
  • Article   85 Review of any measure taken to comply with the arbitral ruling 5
  • Article   86 Temporary remedies in case of non-compliance 5
  • Article   87 Review of any measure taken to comply after the adoption of appropriate measures 5
  • Chapter   IV Common provisions 5
  • Article   88 Mutually agreed solution 5
  • Article   89 Rules of Procedure and Code of Conduct 5
  • Article   90 Information and technical advice 5
  • Article   91 Languages of the submissions 5
  • Article   92 Rules of interpretation 5
  • Article   93 Arbitral rulings 5
  • Article   94 List of arbitrators 5
  • Article   95 Relation with WTO obligations 5
  • Article   96 Time limits 5
  • Part   IV GENERAL 5
  • Article   97 General exception clause 5
  • Article   98 Security exceptions 5
  • Article   99 Taxation 5
  • Article   100 The Joint Council 5
  • Article   101 Composition and functions 5
  • Article   102 Decision-making powers and procedures 5
  • Article   103 Trade and Development Committee 5
  • Article   104 Definition of the Parties and fulfilment of obligations 5
  • Article   105 Exchange of information 5
  • Article   106 Transparency 5
  • Article   107 Temporary difficulties in implementation 5
  • Article   108 Regional preferences 5
  • Article   109 Outermost regions of the EU 5
  • Article   110 Relations with the Cotonou Agreement 6
  • Article   112 Relations with the WTO Agreement 6
  • Article   113 Entry Into Force (1) 6
  • Article   114 Duration 6
  • Article   115 Territorial Application 6
  • Article   116 Revision Clause 6
  • Article   117 Amendments 6
  • Article   118 Accession of New EU Member States 6
  • Article   119 Accession 6
  • Article   120 Languages and Authentic Texts 6
  • Article   121 Annexes 6
  • Article   122 Rights and Obligations Under this Agreement 6