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UK set to sign deal with SACU members



MASERU – ON Tuesday the United Kingdom set in motion a process to sign an Economic Partnership Agreement with the Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique (SACU+M).
The EPA will allow Southern African businesses to keep trading freely with the UK after Brexit.

The UK-SACU+M Economic Partnership Agreement will be subject to final checks before it is formally signed.
The agreement allows UK businesses to continue to trade on preferential terms with South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini and Mozambique.

It also supports the economic development of these Commonwealth partners, laying the foundations for new trade and investment in the future.
This will help to strengthen further the trading relationship between the UK and SACU+M nations, which was worth £9.7 billion (about M175.7 billion) last year.

The SACU+M nations are an important market for UK exports of machinery and mechanical appliances worth £409 million (about M7.4 billion) in 2018, motor vehicles worth £335 million (just above M6 billion), and beverages including whisky worth £136 million (just over M2.4 billion).
Consumers and businesses in the UK will continue to benefit from more choice and lower prices on goods imported from SACU+M countries.

Major imports to the UK from these countries last year included edible fruit and nuts (£547 million) and motor vehicles (£409 million).
Trade continuity agreements signed cover countries accounting for £89 billion of the UK’s trade.
When the SACU+M agreement is signed and takes effect, this will go up to £99bn.

According to the International Trade Secretary Liz Truss once the trade agreement is signed and takes effect, it will allow businesses to keep trading after Brexit without any additional barriers.
The trade will also be beneficial for British businesses.
“This will also support developing countries in reducing poverty through trade. They will be able to grow their economies, create jobs and increase incomes for their citizens,” Truss said.
She mentioned that this is a major milestone as the UK prepares to become an independent trading nation once again.
“We are helping businesses get ready to trade with the most exciting markets around the world,” Truss said.

Katy Ransome, the UK High Commissioner to Botswana, said the agreement in principle demonstrates their commitment to increasing trade with developing countries and boosting economies across Southern Africa and the UK.
“This new agreement, once it is signed and takes effect, ensures continuity in our £9.7 billion trading relationship, allowing our businesses to continue supporting our mutual prosperity and economic development,” Ransome said.

Wilson Del Socorro, the Global Director of Government Affairs for Diageo PLC, added that Diageo warmly welcomes the news of a UK-Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique agreement in principle.
“International trade is vital to Diageo as it gives us the opportunity to reach more consumers and markets around the world,” he said.
“Africa is an important growth region for Diageo, including export markets like South Africa for Scotch whisky,” Socorro said.

Business Reporter


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