The Long awaited Free Trade Area (FTA) for Southern African Development Community (SADC) was officially launched, Sunday.
New SADC chairman South Africa’s president Thabo Mbeki urged SADC countries to utilise the FTA to achieve economic growth and integration in the region.
Mbeki also called on SADC countries to become active players in the global economic arena which he said was dominated by countries such as China, India and the Americas, among others.
Premised on the gradual remova of barriers to trade, the SADC FTA is a culmination of an eight year process that started with signing of the SADC Trade Protocol by member states in 1996 which came in effect in 2000.
In addition to the Trade Protocol, = SADC member states have also adopted the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan, RISDP, which outlines the roadmap for further and deeper regional integration.
Principally, the FTA will allow goods originating from SADC member states to enter each others markets free of customs duty.