PRETORIA, South Africa recently hosted the inaugural Joint Administration Committee (JAC) for the South American economic bloc, the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), and the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) in Johannesburg.

During the meeting, the two sides agreed to jointly consider opportunities to use various channels to promote the MERCOSUR-SACU Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) by including their trade promotion agencies, chambers of commerce, private sector, and their respective embassies and foreign missions.

The PTA, which aims to promote trade between the MERCOSUR and SACU regions, offers preferences on more than 1,000 tariff lines from each side at the Margins of Preference ranging between 10 per cent and 100 per cent.

The PTA covers products such as agricultural and agro-processed products; mineral and chemical products; plastics and rubbers products; textiles and clothing products; precious and metal products; machinery and electrical products; transportation products; and miscellaneous products, said MERCOSUR and SACU in a joint statement released here Monday.

The agreement was signed on Dec 15, 2008 in Salvador, Brazil, by MERCOSUR member states, and on April 3, 2009 in Maseru, Lesotho, by SACU member states. The ratification process was concluded in February 2014 and December 2015 by the SACU and MERCOSUR member states, respectively.

In accordance with Article 36 of the PTA, the Agreement entered into force on April 1, 2016. The entry into force of the Agreement marks an important milestone in South-South cooperation and provides an opportunity to enhance bilateral trade between the parties, the statement said.

The inaugural meeting of the JAC was co-chaired by the Deputy Director-General for International Trade and Economic Development of South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry, Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter, and Ambassador Roberto Salafia, the National Director for Economic and Commercial Issues of MERCOSUR at Argentina's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship.


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