16 July 2013
On 26 June 2013 Cabinet approved the submission of the SADC Protocol on Trade in Services to Parliament for ratification, in accordance with section 231 of the Constitution.
The SADC Protocol sets out a framework for the liberalisation of trade in services between SADC member states and serves as a basis for negotiations.
Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams, highlighted that “the objectives of the Protocol are to liberalise intra-regional trade in services on the basis of equity, balance and mutual benefit.” She added that “this is in accordance with the importance South Africa attaches to regional economic integration and the development of the African continent.”
Liberalisation of services in the SADC countries will create many opportunities for South African service suppliers. In many lesser developed countries, there is a distinct shortage of quality and efficiently priced services to underpin all other economic activity.
Ms Williams said, “South Africa is well placed to utilise such opportunities and by doing so, to contribute to economic development in Africa.”
Negotiations will initially focus on six key service sectors, namely: construction, transport, energy, tourism and financial services. The envisaged liberalisation seeks to eventually cover all sectors and modes of supply.
In order to feed the nine billion people expected by 2050, global food production must increase by 70%. However, climate change is expected to reduce food crop yields by 16% worldwide and by 28% in Africa. Price and yield volatility will continue to rise as a result of extreme weather events, hurting livelihoods and putting food security at risk.
The SADC Protocol on Trade in Services was approved by the 32nd SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Maputo, Mozambique in August 2012.
Following approval by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, the SADC Protocol on Trade in Services will then be binding on the Republic of South Africa.
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