Assistance to the SADC Trade Related Facility (TRF)
Since 2008, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been a free trade area except for three member states. This development provides for the elimination of import tariffs and non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to trade among SADC member states and aims at harmonizing customs procedures and technical standards as well as the liberalization of trade in services. Intra-regional trade within the SADC region, however, has not kept pace with the growth of trade in the rest of the world due to challenges in implementing other aspects of the fundamental SADC Protocol on Trade (STP).
Key problems are not only the still existing NTBs, but also the multiple and overlapping memberships of regional economic communities of most SADC member states which complicate STP implementations. A split of SADC member states into four groupings that negotiate their Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union (EU) further exacerbates the complexity of the regional economic integration agenda in the SADC region. Since 2015, GFA experts have addressed these issues under the Trade Related Facility formulated by SADC and financed by the EU. They strengthen the implementation of international trade agreements to which SADC is a signatory and ensure the effective usage of these agreements in SADC member states. This contributes to increased trade and investment flows among SADC member states and other states worldwide.