112 years old, since 1910.
24 April 2024

Statement by the SACU Executive Secretary Ms Tswelopele Moremi on the SACU – USA TIDCA signing ceremony

16 July 2008, Washington, D.C., USA

Honourable Ambassador Susan Schwab, United States Trade Representative;
Honourable Ministers;
Your Excellencies Ambassadors of SACU Member States;
Senior Officials and delegates;
Members of the Private Sector;
Members of the Press;
Ladies and gentlemen

It is a great honour and privilege for me to make some remarks on this important occasion on the signing of the Trade, Investment and Development Cooperation Agreement (TIDCA) between the United States and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Firstly, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Schwab, and her entire team for their hospitality and the excellent arrangements made for this occasion.

Your Excellencies, Honourable Ministers, as you may be aware, the SACU Member States are the largest non-oil trading partner of the US within Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, SACU also has the most diversified range of exports to the USA and is currently benefitting from AGOA preferences in the areas of apparel and clothing, agriculture, automotives, manufacturing, amongst others. This has resulted in some significant investments which have contributed to employment and economic benefits for the region. Therefore our trade relationship with the USA remains important to the SACU region as it is benefiting its economic development.

It is within this framework that SACU is entering into the Trade, Investment and Cooperation Agreement (TIDCA) with the US. We believe that this agreement presents an important platform for strengthening our trade relations, thereby also contributing to the achievement of the objectives of AGOA, specifically to stimulate trade and economic development.

On entering into the negotiations, SACU's main objectives were the following:

In this regard, this agreement not only provides for a formal dialogue on trade and trade-related matters, but simultaneously providing the opportunity to enter into trade-enhancing agreements on areas of importance, like customs cooperation and sanitary and phytosanitary measures. It also promotes a vision for establishing a long-term trade relationship between the two sides.

Ambassador Schwab, Honourable Ministers, I would like to conclude by congratulating the negotiators on both sides for their patience and consistency, which has enabled us to conclude this agreement. This agreement is the outcome of a long and arduous process that often made for difficult and taxing exchanges amongst negotiators. Finally, let me reiterate the SACU Secretariat's commitment to ensuring that this agreement is fully implemented and in doing so, achieves the objectives it sets out to achieve.

I thank you.