New SACU deal to lower trading costs

June 01, 2023 2374

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) member countries have entered into a mutual recognition agreement as part of the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme that is expected to optimise procedures for imports and exports within the region.

The AEO Programme, signed on Wednesday in South Africa, is an internationally endorsed risk management approach that seeks to collaborate with trade supply-chain entities.

"These entities must maintain high quality internal operational processes and have an appropriate record of compliance, and in turn, receive certain benefits to support these businesses," the SACU Secretariat said in a joint statement.

Accredited trading countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South African, who all form part of SACU.

"The Authorised Economic Operator is a flagship Customs-Business partnership programme. It benefits both parties because it offers an opportunity for Customs authorities to share their compliance and security responsibilities with the private sector and at the same time, reward them with several trade facilitation benefits," the statement said.

"Partnership programmes of this nature with trade allow Customs to achieve more with less, with the goal of ensuring sustainable and long-term compliance through incentives."

SACU Executive Secretary, Thabo Khasipe, said the AEO programme has now been mutually recognised by SACU so that these benefits can extend to compliant and accredited businesses, to operate seamlessly across borders between SACU member states.” 

He urged businesses to form mutually beneficial partnerships through the AEO programme so that the region can extend economic benefits to all its citizens.

“This is a VIP system for trade in the region that can assist in developing the region,” he said.

The Authorised Economic Operators further supports increased voluntary compliance by enabling Customs to reward traders who choose to be compliant. 

Through the signing of the Mutual Recognition Agreement, the Commissioners General of revenue authorities committed themselves to do their best in facilitating cross regional trade to ensure the success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, exploring all its opportunities and being alert to respond to all its risks.

“It is in our hands as leaders of SACU Revenue Administrations to play a key role in significantly reducing the stubborn residue of poverty, inequality and unemployment amongst our people in our region and beyond.”

In addition, the various authorities vowed to ensure that the AEO programme contributes toward the vision of further deepening Africa’s connectivity to global trade networks to leverage opportunities for economic development presented by such integration. 

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Last modified on Friday, 02 June 2023 16:06

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