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Countries and regions | Brussels, 12 September 2011

EU Trade chief De Gucht visits Namibia and South Africa to boost trade and development deal

The EU’s Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will today travel to Southern Africa to boost negotiations on a comprehensive trade and development agreement between the two regions. On 13 September he will meet with President Hifikepunye Pohamba and key ministers in Namibia as well as Namibian business representatives, and civil society. He will travel to South Africa on 14 September to meet South African Trade Minister Rob Davies before participating in the EU–South Africa Summit on 15 September.

"South Africa and Namibia are key trade partners for Europe and these discussions are set to deepen these ties further", said Karel De Gucht. "With a shared vision and a pragmatic approach, we should be able to bring these talks to a successful conclusion in the not so distant future to the benefit of all sides."

South Africa and Namibia are negotiating a regional comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU in the framework of the Southern African Development Community EPA Group, which also includes Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique. In 2009, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique signed an interim agreement with the EU. South Africa has a separate deal, the Trade and Development Co-operation Agreement (TDCA), with the EU.


The EU is Namibia's main export market (around 30% of total exports) outside Southern Africa. In 2010, Namibia exported €1.16 billion worth of goods to the EU, and imported €327 million worth of goods from the EU.

Most Namibian exports involve manufactured goods (52%), while chemicals account for 15%. Food and live animals account for 27%. Namibia’s main agricultural exports to the EU are beef, grapes and fish.

In 2007 Namibia initialled the EU–SADC EPA Group interim EPA, but has not signed it so far. It is participating in negotiations with a view to reach a comprehensive regional agreement with the EU.

South Africa

The EU is South Africa's largest trading partner. In 2010 the EU imported €18 billion worth of goods from South Africa. South Africa imported €21 billion worth of goods from the EU. Most imports from South Africa consist of manufactured goods (35%), machinery and transport equipment (19%) – whereas other regions in the world import mainly primary products from South Africa.

South Africa did not initial the EU–SADC EPA Group interim EPA in 2007, but is participating in regional comprehensive talks to reach a full EPA.

South Africa has a separate trade agreement with the EU, the TDCA Trade and Development Co-operation Agreement.

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