The fourth round of SACU-USA FTA negotiations took place in Walvis Bay , Namibia , from February 23 rd-25 th 2004 . In the first phase these negotiations focussed on market-access issues, trade remedies, rules of origin and customs procedures. The second phase will focus on services, investment, intellectual property, government procurement and labour and the environment. Sticky issues to date have included agriculture, and sensitive industrial products and services. SACU negotiators are stressing the importance of access for agricultural exports to the USA . The latter has however proved unwilling to discuss the issue of export subsidies outside of a WTO context. The next round of negotiations is scheduled for May in Lesotho.
These developments mean that the SADC configuration-EU EPA negotiations will be running in parallel with SACU-USA FTA negotiations. This is likely to place a heavy burden on the limited negotiating capacity of the smaller SACU country governments.