The legal implications of the signing of economic partnership agreements by Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland in view of the SACU agreement
Mugadza, Willard Tawonezvi
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The introduction and signing of the Economic Partnership Agreements (hereafter EPA’s) have been received with mixed feelings legally, politically and economically. African Caribbean and Pacific countries have taken different positions with regards to their signing, ratification and implementation. A lot has been written about the legal effect of EPA’ The Southern Africa Customs Union (hereafter SACU) has not been spared either. SACU is made up of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. Article 31 (3) of the 2002 SACU Agreement prohibits any of the SACU member states to negotiate and enter into new preferential agreements with third parties or amend existing agreements without the consent of other member states. Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland signed Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union in direct violation of article 31 (3) of the 2002 SACU Agreement. The actions of these three countries have exposed the vulnerabilities and short-comings of the 2002 Agreement. The key findings of this study are that Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland have violated the 2002 Agreement. Namibia and South Africa have openly castigated the actions of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. SACU institutions that are mandated to monitor and implement the 2002 Agreement such as the Council of Ministers, Customs Union Commission, Secretariat, Tariff Board, Technical Liaison Committees and ad hoc Tribunal appear to have not taken sufficient action to penalise the actions of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. This has led some critics to argue that the SACU 2002 Agreement has to be reviewed or suspended or that it has lost its legal force.
- Law