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 are expected to result in market access commitments that will provide a predictable legal environment for trade and investment in the sectors within the region.

The first round of negotiations focused on the first four priority sectors, namely in Communications, Financial, Tourism and Transport services. In July 2018, the Committee of Ministers of Trade approved the lists of commitments of 14 Member States, (except for Angola and Comoros) covering these four sectors. In addition, the following Annexes were adopted, namely the Annex on Financial Services, Annex on Telecommunication Services, Annex on Tourism Services and three cross-cutting Annexes on Substantial Business Operations, Interim Arrangement relating to commitments on Subsidies and on Movement of Natural Persons.

The lists of commitments in the two remaining sectors, namely Construction and Energy related services were adopted by the Committee of Ministers of Trade in June 2019 as well as the Annex on Postal and Courier Services.

Sources : ITD

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