Trade facilitation and cooperation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is still a challenge to member-states as pricing of goods remains higher within the region compared to international markets.
SADC Director of Policy, Planning and Resource Mobilisation, Angelo Mondlane said regional integration and cooperation remains a challenge in the SADC region.
“The pricing of goods within the SADC region is much higher when compared to international markets. This is why the movement of goods between Botswana and China is very high, but we need to reverse this situation and ensure there is good trade relation within the SADC members,” he said.
He said that regional integration is a long-term process, which does not end at free trade but must move from a customs union to a common market and to economic union.
According to Modlane SADC trade facilitation needs a regional master plan, which brings in the whole infrastructure to allow the region to mobilise resources. He said although economy and trade is highly globalised, price of goods in the SADC region still remains a challenge.
“We are in a highly globalised economy but the pricing of goods within the SADC region remains a challenge,” said Modlane.
Some of the trade facilitation achievements made during the 2014/15 annual implementation include the approval of Seychelles’ tariff offer by the Committee of Ministers of Trade in July last year as a first step towards joining the SADC Free Trade Area, finalisation of negotiations for the goods chapter of the Economic Partnership Agreement and the finalisation of the Industrialisation Strategy and roadmap for the SADC region.
In 2013, the EU released EUR 19, 6million in addition to SADC to assist SADC to implement the SADC Secretariat’s mandate on promoting regional economic integration.