Britain and Namibia aim to grow their bilateral cooperation as well as further boost trade ties post-Brexit.
Britain’s Joint Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, Hon. Andrew Stephenson, paid a courtesy call on President Hage Geingob at the State House in January.
He assured the Namibian Head of State that Brexit will not stand in the way of cooperation and trade between the two countries, but rather presents Britain with an opportunity to develop its own trade policy and trade programmes.
President Geingob on his part affirmed Namibia’s readiness to deepen existing trade and investment relations with Britain (United Kingdom), highlighting Namibia’s strategic location in the region and vast investment opportunities in value added services, agriculture, wildlife and tourism economies.
The United Kingdom (UK) recently signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), for which Namibia is part off, and Mozambique, jointly referred to as “SACU+M states”.
The biggest impact of this EPA to Namibia will be for the agricultural sector through, which the exporting of beef, dates and grapes to the UK market will continue freely after Brexit.
This EPA is the first of several steps the UK is taking as part of its commitment to growing African trade.
Total trade between the UK and SACU+M was worth £9,7 billion in 2018 and has increased by an average of 2.8% per year since 2016.
The UK remains a significant trading partner for Namibia and thanks to this new agreement, will continue to be a key trading partner for the foreseeable future.
The EPA makes it possible for Namibian businesses to trade much as they do now, without any additional barriers or tariffs. It eliminates tariffs and quotas on all goods imported from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia into the UK, as well as on products covering around 96% of goods imported from South Africa.
Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini and South Africa also remove all tariffs and quotas on products covering around 85% of UK exports, with products covering around a further 13% of UK exports benefiting from reduced tariffs or tariff-rate quotas.
In 2018, the UK accounted for 19% of beef exports from Namibia and 24% of total exports of beef from Botswana. The UK market also accounted for 20% of total exports of wine from South Africa, in addition to 18% of total South African exports of platinum, 16% of fruits and nuts, and 7% of motor cars.
Britain believes that eliminating trade barriers with African countries will help create millions of new jobs and economic growth, delivering opportunities for the world’s less developed nations to move beyond aid dependency and become trading partners.
Economist Klaus Schade commented that the rollover of the EPA between SACU+M and the UK after Brexit was certainly good news, since it removes uncertainties regarding the trade framework after the UK left the EU.
Courtesy of Invest Namibia Journal.
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