As from 1 October 2007 all imports from Madagascar will now be at the SADC rate of duty. This follows the submission of the Republic of Madagascar’s submission of their Instrument of Implementation in terms of which the SADC Trade Protocol (as amended) will be implemented with retrospective effect from 1 October 2007.
Madagascar is one of the last (11th out of a possible 14) countries forming part of SADC to finally implement its obligations under the SADC Trade Protocol, with many member states already implementing the SADC Trade Protocol as from 2000. Currently Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe have implemented the SADC Trade Protocol.
The implementation by Madagascar will allow imports and exports to and from the abovementioned member states to occur at the SADC rate of duty which is generally more favourable than the standard MFN Rate.
As of 1 January 2008, SADC tariff scaling down is supposed to be at zero in terms of the Protocol on Trade, save for certain concessions as regards the least developing countries who have an extended timeframe to 2012. None the less SA will be at zero on all tariff lines from SADC. Many countries in SADC are in for a ‘rude awakening’ as they have back loaded their tariff reductions and in the final implementation to zero will make some steep cuts off a rather gradual scale down schedule to this point. We fully expect, based on past experience that some states will simply renege on their tariff commitments. It will be interesting to see whether aggrieved states seek relief through dispute settlement from the newly functioning SADC Tribunal. Should you wish to evaluate the merit of approaching the SADC Tribunal on a trade related issue please contact Hilton Zunckel.