On 5 November 2002, the United States and the countries of the South African Customs Union (SACU) – Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland – announced that they would begin negotiations for a free trade agreement. This agreement would build on the economic relations supported under the U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) of 2000. In December 2004, MERCOSUR and the South African Customs Union (SACU), composed of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, signed a preferential trade agreement. In conjunction with the agreement, they concluded an agreement on the conclusion of their preferential agreement, expressing their satisfaction with the conclusion of this agreement and reaffirming their commitment to continue negotiations and strengthen bilateral cooperation in order to facilitate the implementation of the agreement. Ministers indicated that these negotiations would start as soon as possible and included additional protocols to the agreement in the customs and automotive sectors. Annex to the Institutionalisation of the South African Customs Union (SACU) Summit Ms Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (DTI), presented to the Committee the Annex to the Institutionalisation of the SACU Summit and highlighted the context, the 2002 SACU Agreement, the decisions of the Heads of State and Government, the objectives of the Annex, the role of the summit and the procedural and legal implications. South Africa was a signatory to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), the world`s oldest customs union since 1910. After verification, the 1969 agreement was born. The SACU agreement was then renegotiated and signed in 2002 and entered into force on 15 July 2004.
The highest decision-making institution of the 2002 agreement was the Council of Ministers. In 2004, it had established a secretariat organized by Namibia. The first meeting of SACU Heads of State and Government took place on 22 April 2010, and at that meeting the Heads of State and Government decided that SACU should have a summit that would be the highest decision-making body and that there would be political and strategic directions. The annex to the institutionalisation of the summit was developed and adopted by the Council in 2012 and signed by the Heads of State and Government at a meeting in Botswana in 2013. The objective of the summit was to facilitate cross-border trade in goods between the territories of the Member States; create effective, transparent and democratic institutions that guarantee Member States fair trade advantages; promoting a level playing field in the common customs area; significantly increase investment opportunities in the common customs area; improving the economic development, diversification, industrialisation and competitiveness of the Member States; promote the integration of Member States into the world economy by strengthening trade and investment; facilitate a fair distribution of revenues from Member States` customs duties, excise duties and additional levies; and to facilitate the development of common policies and strategies. . . . .