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MBABANE – Good news! Eswatini’s continued access to the United Kingdom was guaranteed when the UK initialled an Economic Partnership Agreement with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Mozambique (SACU+M) that would allow business to keep trading freely after Brexit.

SACU and Mozambique initialled the final texts on Sunday and Monday in Gaborone, Botswana. Meanwhile, the UK initialled the texts on the Tuesday.
British High Commission Media Liaison Officer Fortunate Xaba explained that this marked the end of formal trade discussions and the UK-SACU+M Economic Partnership Agreement which would be subject to final checks before it gets formally signed.

Xaba pointed out that the agreement allows businesses to continue to trade on preferential terms with South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini and Mozambique. She said it supports the economic development of the commonwealth partners laying the foundation for new trade and investment in the future.
It has also been anticipated that this would also help to strengthen further the trading relationship between the UK and SACU+M nations, which was worth approximately E155.2 billion (£9.7 billion) last year.

Xaba mentioned that the SACU+M nations were an important market for UK exports of machinery and mechanical appliances worth E6.5 billion (£409 million) in 2018, motor vehicles worth E5.6 billion (£335 million), and beverages including whisky worth around E2.1 billion (£136 million).

Courtesy of the agreement, consumers and businesses in the UK would continue to benefit from more choice and lower prices on goods imported from SACU+M countries. Major imports to the UK from these countries last year included edible fruit and nuts and motor vehicles.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss was reported to have said: “this trade agreement, once it is signed and takes effect, will allow businesses to keep trading after Brexit without any additional barriers. As well as benefitting British businesses, this will also support developing countries in reducing poverty through trade. They will be able to grow their economies, create jobs and increase incomes for their citizens.”


Truss added that this was a major milestone as the UK prepared to become an independent trading nation once again.
Katy Ransome, the UK High Commissioner to Botswana, said the agreement in principle demonstrated their commitment to increasing trade with developing countries and boosting economies across Southern Africa and the UK.

“This new agreement, once it is signed and takes effect, ensures continuity in our E155.2 billion (£9.7 billion) trading relationship, allowing our businesses to continue supporting our mutual prosperity and economic development,” said Ransome.

Wilson Del Socorro, Global Director of Government Affairs for Diageo PLC, added: “Diageo warmly welcomes the news of a UK-Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique agreement in principle.

International trade is vital to Diageo as it gives us the opportunity to reach more consumers and markets around the world. Africa is an important growth region for Diageo, including export markets like South Africa for Scotch whisky.”
Diageo is one of the world’s largest producers of spirits and beers.

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