Regional business organisations met in Cape Town to address the effect of non-tariff barriers on trade.

This event was held under the auspices of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in partnership with the German Agency for International Corporation (GIZ).

FESARTA’s Barney Curtis who attended the event courtesy of GIZ, says, “Though an NTB annex to the SADC Trade Protocol was agreed earlier in 2014 and member states agreed to resolve NTBs, little had been achieved.”

“At the same time a SADC customs model act had been agreed, but Member States had difficulty in complying with it. This resulted in a lack of a dispute-resolving process.”

According to Curtis, the procedure for solving NTBs, is:

•             The NTB system sent the NTBs to the National Focal Points

•             The NFPs tried to find solutions to the NTBs and, if unsuccessful, passed them on to National Monitoring Committees

•             The NMCs then addressed the NTBs and tried to find solutions to them

•             If the NMCs were unable to solve an NTB, and it was considered to be of significant importance, then the NTB would be referred to the SADC Tribunal, or the equivalent in COMESA, or EAC.

States Curtis, Unfortunately, the SADC Tribunal has been disbanded and this left the NTB system without the highest appeal process.”

“SAIIA, with the assistance of GIZ, is to study a few of the more important NTBs, notably NTB 530 (Zambia tanker regulations) and NTB 606 (security problems at Munhava, Beira), and work with the relevant stakeholders to solve them. Depending on the success, or otherwise, of this process, SAIIA would consider taking on more NTBs, with the help of GIZ and FESARTA.”

Curtis said FESARTA is to work closely with SAIIA in the future to ensure NTBs are addressed and resolved.