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Africa, Caribbean, Pacific | Johannesburg, 16-17 October

Commissioner Malmström in South Africa to celebrate first anniversary of regional trade agreement

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström was in South Africa on 16 and 17 October. The Commissioner attended a civil society forum in Johannesburg marking one year since the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and six countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) came into force provisionally.

Together with ministers from the region, she opened the high-level event with more than 150 civil society organisations. Afterwards, representatives of NGOs, trade associations and trade unions had the opportunity to comment on their experiences of the trade deal, one year on.

In her speech, Commissioner Malmström pointed out that both companies, environmental campaigners, trade unions and human rights advocates need to be closely involved in the monitoring of the EPA.

“We need your input and ideas on how to make the implementation of the agreement and our cooperation on sustainable development stronger and more effective. If we do all of those things, the EU-SADC EPA will have a high chance of becoming a landmark deal for people on both sides,” Malmström said.

Whilst in South Africa the Commissioner participated in a number of meetings, including with South African Minister of Trade Rob Davies, to discuss trade policy and the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement. She also visited Witwatersrand (Wits) University where she gave a lecture to students and members of the public on global trade issues.

There was also a trip to Liliesleaf Farm, a site of historical importance in the political struggle against apartheid, followed by a showcase of South African regional products to celebrate World Food Day.

During her trip, Commissioner Malmström also visited an organic farm managed by a young black female entrepreneur who intends to make use of the EPA to export certified organic agricultural products to Europe.

In her speech to students at Wits University, Commissioner Malmström raised the partnership between the EU and South Africa.

"In our strategic partnership, we have shown the world that progress and fairness is possible. So let us keep working together, and let us keep in mind that we can still do so much more."

Photos and videos are available from the visits to the university and the organic farm.

More information

Commissioner's speech at Witwatersrand University (17 October)

Video and photo of the Witwatersrand University speech and the organic farm visit are available.

Commissioner's speech at the Civil Society Forum (16 October)

More on the Southern African Development Community (SADC)