No Brexit blues for Namibia

Trade between the Southern African Customs Union and the UK should continue effortlessly, irrespective of Britain's other Brexit negotiations.

20 January 2020 | Economics

No obstacles are foreseen for Namibia from a trade point of view as far as Brexit is concerned, local stockbroking firm IJG Securities said in an advisory released last week.

Assuming the European parliament gives the green light, the UK will formally leave the European Union on 31 January with a withdrawal deal, and will then go into a transition period scheduled to end on 31 December.

During this period, the UK will effectively remain in the EU's customs union and single market, but will be outside the political institutions. There will be no British members of the European parliament.

On how this is expected to affect Namibia, IJG said there were no notable concerns. “As for Namibia, we expect the new Sacu (Mozambique)-UK economic partnership agreement (EPA) to be ratified without any obstacles or delay and for trade between Sacu and the UK to continue effortlessly, irrespective of how the UK's other negotiations play out,” it said.

According to IJG, in September 2019, Namibia, together with five other southern African countries, signed a new trade agreement with the UK, as the current EU-SADC EPA will no longer apply to the UK once it leaves the EU. “The new agreement, which will be referred to as the Sacu (Mozambique)-UK EPA, will kick in after the transitional period during which the UK will negotiate its final terms with the EU,” it said.

“The new agreement essentially replicates the existing terms of the current agreement, and will ensure that trade continues between the countries, whether the UK reaches a deal with the EU by the transition period's deadline of 31 December or not,” IJG added.

On a recent visit to Namibia, the United Kingdom's minister for Africa Andrew Stephonson said the UK would make sure no trade ties with Namibia are strained.

“As we leave the EU at the end of January, we are beginning to sign continuity agreements at various places around the world, including here [in Namibia] to ensure that there is no disruption,” said Stephenson, adding that he wants African countries to maintain ties with the UK as their partner of choice.

OGONE TLHAGE

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