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United States-Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Free Trade Agreement Negotiations: Background and Potential Issues

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Negotiations to launch a free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and the five members of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland) began on June 3, 2003. In April 2006, negotiators suspended FTA negotiations, launching a new work program on intensifying the trade and investment relationship with an FTA as a long term goal. A potential FTA would eliminate tariffs over time, reduce or eliminate non-tariff barriers, liberalize service trade, protect intellectual property rights, and provide technical assistance to help SACU nations achieve the goals of the agreement. This potential agreement would be subject to congressional approval. This report will be updated as negotiations progress.