Trade Performance Review 2007: Chapter 6: Non tariff barriers in SADC

Year of publication: 
2007
Author(s): 
Gregory Mthembu-Salter, independent researcher and consultant
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Cognisant of the costs to business associated with existing NTBs in the region as well as the risk of NTB use expanding as tariffs recede, the SADC Secretariat has attempted to ameliorate this risk by developing an action plan to eliminate NTBs. SADC members' trade ministers in July 2007 agreed on a new reporting mechanism to assist intra-SADC exporters wishing to challenge an alleged unfair advantage gained by their SADC competitors via an NTB. The mechanism is based on one previously developed by COMESA. 

Undoubtedly, the new reporting mechanism is an important component of an effective anti-NTB strategy for the region. However, the mechanism appears only to address NTBs that affect those companies from different countries within the region which are in direct competition with one other. Yet because the SADC members' economies differ from one another, it is not often the case that companies within the region are in direct competition with one another. For example, there are no locally produced alternatives within other SADC countries to South African manufacturing and services exports. The concern is that there is a whole range of NTBs within the region not addressed by the SADC anti-NTB strategy. 

Two pieces of recent research by SAIIA on SADC NTBs offer contributions to SADC's ongoing policy debate on the matter. First, customs expert Costa Pierides (2007) studied the impact of NTBs on business supply chains between South Africa and Botswana. Second, Mthembu-Salter's 2007 study focused on trade between South Africa and Zimbabwe and NTBs cost to business in this regard. The key findings from these  studies are discussed in this chapter.
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