Partnerships, Market Access & Regional Integration

EPA SADC Outreach

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the Southern African Development Community EPA Group was signed in June 2016 and came into effect in October 2016. The SADC-EU EPA Group comprises the Southern African Customs Union countries – South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland – and Mozambique. Angola has an option to join in the future.

The EPA’s are trade and development schemes that emerged as the EU’s proposal for a World Trade Organization compatible alternative to replace the unilateral trade regime that has governed trade among the EU and African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries for 40 years.

The EU and South Africa began working with the southern SADC region towards a full EPA in 2007. Negotiations were concluded in 2014.

For South Africa, the EPA substitutes the chapter on trade in the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). What the EPA means for South Africa

  • Improved market access
  • Regional integration
  • More flexible rules of origin
  • Eliminating export subsidies
  • More effective safeguards


Supporting the EU in seeking to realise business opportunities primarily for the benefit of EU companies, but also for SA companies interested in partnering with EU business.

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Market Access

Market Access relates to barriers to trade affecting EU business.

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Regional Integration

One of the SADC EPA’s objectives is to enhance regional market integration in the region. The EU fully supports the role that South Africa can play in the region to enhance economic and trade development.

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