The ICTSD reported on October 5th 2005 that the stalled SACU-US FTA negotiations had been restarted at the end of September after a year’s break. The focus is to be on uncontroversial topics, primarily industrial tariffs, with the controversial areas of investment rules and the protection of intellectual property rights left on the back-burner for the moment.
It remains to be seen how far these negotiations can progress in creating an atmosphere within which more controversial issues can be constructively dealt with. The significance of the relaunch of these negotiations lies in the fact that the EU already has a de facto FTA agreement with SACU. Once EPAs are signed with other ACP regions, the USA and other major OECD economies will be keen to conclude similar agreements so that their exporters are not placed at a significant disadvantage vis-à-vis their EU competitors.