Replacing the former SA–EU Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), the EU-SADC EPA agreement is a comprehensive economic partnership between the European Union and South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Mozambique which entered into force in 2016.
Offering improved market access for several agricultural, agri-processing and fisheries products, a plethora of opportunities exist for local exporters. Duty-free market access for some agricultural products is however still under-utilised by South African exporters.
The seminar is aimed at sharing practical and useful information with Western Cape and South African exporters about opportunities that exist under the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. This includes exploring reasons why some opportunities are under-utilised and facilitating discussion around ways in which the government can support South African businesses in taking full advantage of the benefits of duty free market access to the EU available to them under the EPA.
Furthermore, the seminar will highlight ways in which the SADC-EU EPA supports regional integration among the SADC EPA states, and encourages the development of regional value chains.
The improved trading terms and market access provided by the SADC-EU EPA include:
- New duty free access on: all fisheries, oranges and lemons (seasonal), cut flowers, whole milk powder, fermented milk products, whey and other natural milk products, sweetened pineapple juice, cultured yeast, dried baker’s yeast and non-sweetened pear juice;
- New Tariff Rate Quotas on: Skimmed milk powder, butter, sugar, white crystalline powder, citrus jams, ethanol and active yeast;
- Improved Tariff Rate Quotas on: Wine, frozen orange juice, apple juice and canned fruit;
- Unchanged Tariff Rate Quotas on: Frozen strawberries and canned mixtures of tropical fruit.
Highlighting the importance of this market, Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris commented: “These are important opportunities, especially for our exporters if you look at the fact that the Western Cape exports 53% of all SA’s agriculture and fishing products, 71% of all SA’s beverages and 43% of all SA’s value added food products. Adding to this are the strong trade ties that already exist in the region, with the EU being the second largest export destination for Western Cape goods. The Wesgro Trade Promotion Unit is focused on increasing the rand value of exports into global markets and the number of jobs resulting from export orders. We hope that seminars like today’s will provide the necessary insights needed to assist local exporter’s to better leverage opportunities in the EU resulting in more exported products and further job creation.”
“This is indeed an exciting gathering of a key export region for South Africa and our neighboring African countries. We are determined to let the world know that we are open for business and this seminar demonstrates the commitment to building trade relations between ourselves and the rest of the world so that local companies can leverage opportunities and continue growing and creating more jobs for our residents. South African companies have so much to offer the rest of the world with a range of diverse and quality products and we will be proud to see more of our products enjoyed across the globe,” said Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille.
The Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, added: “The Western Cape’s Project Khulisa strategy is to develop the agricultural and agri-processing sectors to grow the economy and create new jobs. The European market is a major export destination for produce and agri-processed goods from the Western Cape and by helping local businesses understand the trade agreements and highlighting the opportunities available to them in Europe, we hope to grow our exports, and introduce new players and products to this market.”
In a final comment, Wesgro’s Head of International Trade and Development, Denan Kuni, added: “Wesgro keeps a keen eye on trade opportunities and works closely with national and provincial government, business and export councils, as well as academic institutions in order to provide a high quality service and leverage opportunities across global markets. The Trade unit regularly hosts seminars and workshops about market access opportunities and we encourage Western Cape exporters to attend so that we can collectively work together to further the province’s export footprint.”