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India pushes for preferential trade deal with Southern African Customs Union

India pushes for preferential trade deal with Southern African Customs Union
A virtual meeting has been held between the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and India to achieve the so-called Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) which would reduce tariffs on certain products.

SACU is the world’s oldest customs union and Africa’s regional economic organization which includes South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). It was established in 1910.

According to India’s Joint Secretary at the Department of Commerce Srikar Reddy, in 2019-20 trade between India and Africa as a whole stood at $66.7 billion, including the $10.9 billion India-SACU trade.

Executive Director at Namibia’s Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development Steve Katjiuanjo called India a strategic partner, noting that the region is benefiting from access to the vast Indian market. According to the officials, India stood fully committed and ready to support manufacturing and industry in Namibia in areas such as agriculture, irrigation, renewables, ICT, pharma and medical supplies.

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Bilateral trade between the two nations reached $135.92 million in 2018-19. India’s exports were valued at $82.37 million, while imports stood at $53.55 million. The mining sector is an area of mutual interest for the countries. Namibia is rich in uranium, diamonds, copper, phosphates and other minerals. Bilateral cooperation in the energy and agricultural sectors also has good prospects.

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Statistics showed that trade between India and South Africa also grew to over $10 billion during 2018-19. Exports from India to South Africa included vehicles and components, drugs and pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, footwear, dyes and intermediates, as well as chemicals, textiles, rice, gems and jewelry, etc. India imported gold, steam coal, copper ores and concentrates, phosphoric acid, manganese ore, aluminum ingots and other minerals.

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