Guide to investing in South Africa
International Trade Agreements: South Africa’s preferential market access agreements


Established in 1910, this is the oldest functioning customs union in the world. The latest SACU Agreement came into force in July 2004. In terms of Article 31 of the new agreement, South Africa and other members of SACU jointly negotiate preferential trade agreements with third parties. SACU members have also agreed to a targeted work programme in five areas, namely:

  • regional industrialisation;
  • review of the revenue-sharing formula to ensure a sustainable revenue sharing mechanism that promotes development;
  • development of a trade facilitation programme to improve border efficiency; 
  • unified engagement in trade negotiations; and
  • establishing common institutions such as a Tariff Board and the Tribunal within an agreed policy framework.