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

Implementation of the SADC Protocol on Trade began in 2000. The liberalisation of tariffs has taken place at different rates. In general, more developed SADC countries have reduced tariffs faster than other member states. SACU removed most tariffs in 2000, while  middle-income countries have gradually reduced their tariffs each year between 2000 and 2008. In relation to the least-developed countries, tariff reductions have generally been introduced during the latter part of the phase-down period. 

From January 2008 onwards, when SADC attained the status of a FTA, producers and consumers do not pay import tariffs on more than 85% of all trade in community goods in the initial 12 countries implementing the SADC Trade Protocol. When SADC attains the status of a fully-fledged FTA with almost all tariff lines will be traded duty-free.

Market integration in SADC is accompanied by cross-border infrastructural development (such as the spatial development initiatives) and sectoral co-operation that aims to build and diversify the region’s production structures.