SADC Free Trade Area


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The SADC Protocol on Trade was signed in August 1996 and its implementation started in 2000 with the gradual elimination of customs duties on 85% of tariff lines by 2008, thereby establishing the SADC FTA. The elimination of duty on the remaining 'sensitive products' was completed by 2012 by most Member States.

List of SADC Member States

Agreement Highlights- Potential for Mauritius

Trade within SADC Member States under the SADC FTA is undertaken on a duty-free basis. It confers to Mauritian exporters duty free access in other SADC Member States, except for Angola, DRC and Comoros which are not yet FTA members.

Coverage of the Agreement

The SADC Protocol on Trade comprises provisions on Trade in Goods, Customs Procedures, Trade laws, Trade-related investment matters and other trade related issues such as IPR and Competition policy, amongst others.

SADC Protocol on Trade

Trade in Sugar

Annex VII to the SADC Protocol on Trade pertaining to Trade in Sugar limits market access for sugar into the SACU market (South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia, Lesotho) by a quota. The quota is allocated to non-SACU sugar producing countries and is reviewed on an annual basis.

SADC Rules of Origin

The SADC Rules of Origin are product-specific whereby each tariff heading is assigned one or several criteria to be fulfilled for origin to be conferred. In order to benefit from preferential treatment on the SADC market, all goods should comply with the rules of origin under the Protocol and must be accompanied by a valid SADC certificate of origin.

The Rules of Origin can be one or a mix of the following types:

SADC Certificate of Origin

The SADC Certificate of Origin is both issued and approved by the Customs Department of the Mauritius Revenue Authority. The online application for the SADC Certificate of Origin is made through a Freight Forwarder or Customs House Broker via the TradeNet system. More information on the SADC Certificate can be obtained from the Customs Department:

Mauritius Revenue Authority
Customs Department,
Customs House
Mer Rouge
Port Louis
Tel: (230) 202 0500
Fax: (230) 216 7784

For the Customs Department to approve the Certificate, the following documents must be submitted:

SADC Certificate of Origin duly filled
Customs Declaration (Export and Import)
Export Invoice
Appropriate certified costing for value added requirements
Any other document as may be required by Customs Department

Non-Tariff Barriers Monitoring Mechanism

In the region, Member States of the SADC, COMESA and EAC have decided to adopt a harmonized approach as regards elimination of NTBs. The three RECs have joined forces to implement a common Non-Tariff Barrier reporting, monitoring and eliminating mechanism, which incorporates concrete timelines for the removal of NTBs in the region.

The online NTB monitoring mechanism is available on Operators can directly report and monitor the resolution of barriers encountered in the COMESA, EAC and SADC regions. This new system enhances transparency and makes it easy to follow-up reported and identified NTBs. This web-based NTB system is accessible to all economic operators, public officials, academic researchers and other interested parties.

Mauritian operators trading in the region are strongly encouraged to use the online system to report any NTB encountered. The website lists the different types of NTBs which can be reported on the system. Once the complaint is registered in the database, it is logged with a reference number. This reference number can be used to monitor who is responsible for dealing with the reported NTB and any specific outcomes. The online system also publishes notifications of procedural, legislative or regulatory changes announced by Member States in the three RECs, enabling all traders to constantly keep up to date with trading requirements.

More information can be obtained either from the website or from the International Trade Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade and MCCI, which are the national public and private sector focal point respectively.

The SADC TBT and SPS Non-Tariff Measures (NTM) online database

The SADC Secretariat is in the process of developing a TBT and SPS NTM online database which will allow SADC Member States to capture NTMs and categorise products correctly using Harmonised System codes.

The NTM database will be accessed on :

The SADC Protocol on Trade in Services

SADC Protocol on Trade in Services

The SADC Protocol on Trade in Services was signed and adopted by SADC Heads of States/ Government in August 2012, in Maputo, Mozambique. It entered into force after ratification by two-thirds of the SADC Member States on 13 January 2022.

The Protocol aims to progressively liberalise intra-regional trade in services, promote sustainable economic growth and development, enhance diversification and foreign investment in the region, amongst others. It also provides for a mandate to progressively negotiate the removal of barriers to the free movement of services.

Six priority sectors were identified to kickstart the trade in services negotiations namely, Financial Services, Communications, Tourism, Transport, Construction and Energy-related services. These negotiations have now been completed and have resulted in market access commitments that provide a predictable legal environment for trade and investment in the sectors within the region.

In addition, the following Annexes were adopted, namely the Annex on Financial Services, Annex on Telecommunication Services, Annex on Tourism Services, Annex on Postal and Courier Services and three cross-cutting Annexes on Substantial Business Operations, Interim Arrangement relating to commitments on Subsidies and on Movement of Natural Persons.

SADC Member States are now engaged in the second round of the negotiations covering business and distribution services as well as all other sectors not prioritized in the first round namely educational; environmental; health; recreational, cultural and sporting services, amongst others.

A SADC Business Guide is also available to explain the results of the first round of negotiations and the opportunities arising from the trade in services in the SADC region.

SADC Business Guide

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