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Free trade talks with the US

Representatives of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) met with their US counterparts in Walvis Bay on the Namibian coast this week for the fourth round of talks to draw up a comprehensive trade agreement. The negotiations, expected to be completed by December this year, will help create a free trade area (FTA) in sectors and industries such as agriculture, fishery, textiles and clothing, gems, leather products, beverages and information technology and telecommunications services. The five-member SACU bloc - Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa - is the first grouping in sub-Saharan Africa to negotiate an FTA with the US. Namibia's permanent secretary for trade and industry, Andrew Ndishishi, pointed out that the agreement could serve as a "model for deepening the USA-African trade and investment relations on a wider continental basis". However, Ndishishi expressed concern over the "magnitude" of US subsidies for its agricultural sector. Namibia also urged SACU members to define and develop common policies in core economic areas, such as agriculture, industry, competition and monetary policies, to speed up the process of negotiations.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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