Regional Economic Blocs and Unions
Euro-Mediterranean free trade area
The Euro-Mediterranean free trade area (EU-MEFTA) is based on the Barcelona Process and European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The Barcelona Process, developed after the Barcelona Conference in successive annual meetings, is a set of goals designed to lead to a free trade area in the Middle East by 2010.
It is envisioned that a FTA with Rules of Origin with Pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation will be created. It will cover the EU, the EFTA, the EU customs unions with third states (Turkey, Andorra, San Marino), the EU candidate states, the partners of the Barcelona Process and possibly at a later stage all of the European Neighbourhood Policy partners.
The Agadir Agreement of 2004 (FTA between Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt) is seen as its first building block. Further steps are envisioned into the ENP Action plans negotiated between the European Union and the partner states on the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon is currently in negotiations to join Agadir.
The initial aim is to create a matrix of Free Trade Agreements between each of the partners and the others. Then a single free trade area is to be formed, including the European Union.
The Agadir Agreement is seen also as a stepping stone to the formation of a Great Arab Free Trade Area. The Arab League has recently announced that the Agadir Organization is expected to include all 22 Arab Members to finish with an Arab Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), by 2015, and is expected for the Arab League to become a powerfull Economic Organization by 2025.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Members. The ASEAN was founded by five states, mostly from maritime Southeast Asia: the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
The British protectorate of Brunei joined the ASEAN six days after the country became independent from the United Kingdom on January 8, 1984.
The mainland states of Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar were later admitted. Vietnam joined the ASEAN on July 28, 1995. Laos and Myanmar were admitted into the ASEAN on July 23, 1997. Cambodia became the newest member when it was admitted on April 30, 1999.
The Melanesian state of Papua New Guinea has observer status in the ASEAN. East Timor on the other hand is expected to formally apply for full membership at the 2006 39th Annual Ministerial Meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers in Kuala Lumpur.
The association includes about 8% of the world's population and in 2003 it had a combined GDP of about USD$700 billion, growing at an average rate of around 4% per annum. The economies of member countries of ASEAN are diverse, although its major products include electronics, petroleum, and wood.
The ASEAN countries are culturally rich. It includes more Muslims than any other geopolitical entity. About 240 million Muslims live mostly in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Buddhism constitutes the main religion of mainland Southeast Asia and there are about 170 million Buddhists in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore. Roman Catholicism is predominant in the Philippines.
Through the Bali Concord 11 in 2003, Asean has subscribed to the notion of democratic peace, which means all member countries believe democratic processes will promote regional peace and stability. Also the non-democratic members all agreed that it was something all member states should aspire to.
History. ASEAN was originally formed out of an organization called the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), an alliance consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand that formed in 1961. As such, ASA is considered the predecessor to ASEAN.
ASEAN itself was established on August 8, 1967, when foreign ministers of five countries—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand met at the Thai Department of Foreign Affairs building in Bangkok and signed the ASEAN Declaration (also known as the Bangkok Declaration). The five foreign ministers, considered the organization's Founding Fathers, were Adam Malik of Indonesia, Narciso R. Ramos of the Philippines, Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia, S. Rajaratnam of Singapore, and Thanat Khoman of Thailand. The founding fathers envisaged that the organization would eventually encompass all countries in Southeast Asia.
Brunei Darussalam became the sixth member of the ASEAN when it joined on January 8, 1984, barely a week after the country became independent on January 1. It would be a further 11 years before ASEAN expanded from its core six members. Vietnam became the seventh member—and the first Communist member of ASEAN—on July 28, 1995, and Laos and Myanmar joined two years later in July 23, 1997. Cambodia was to have joined the ASEAN together with Laos and Myanmar, but was deferred due to the country's internal political struggle. Cambodia later joined on April 30, 1999, following the stabilization of its government. Thus was completed the ASEAN-10—the organization of all countries in Southeast Asia.
The ASEAN Regional Forum. ASEAN regularly conducts dialogue meetings with other countries and an organization, collectively known as the ASEAN dialogue partners during the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
The ASEAN Regional Forum is an informal multilateral dialogue of 25 members that seeks to address security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. The ARF met for the first time in 1994. The current participants in the ARF are as follows: ASEAN, Australia, Canada, People's Republic of China, European Union, India, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, East Timor, and the United States. Bangladesh was added to ARF as the 26th member, starting from July 28, 2006.
The ASEAN Summit. The organization holds annual meetings in relation to economic, and cultural development of Southeast Asian countries.
The ASEAN Leaders' Formal Summit was first held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976. At first there was no set schedule due to domestic issues in the member countries. In 1992, leaders decided to hold meetings every three years; and in 2001 it was decided to meet annually to address urgent issues affecting the region. Member nations were assigned to be the summit host in alphabetical order except in the case of Myanmar which dropped its 2006 hosting rights in 2004 due to pressure from the United States and the European Union.
The formal summit meets for three days. The usual itinerary is as follows:
A separate meeting is set for leaders of 2 ASEAN Dialogue Partners (also known as ASEAN-CER) namely Australia and New Zealand.
At the 11th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, new meetings were scheduled. These were:
Central American Common Market
The Central American Common Market (CACM) - in Spanish: Mercado Comun Centroamericano (MCCA) - is an economic trade organization between five nations of Central America. It was established on December 13, 1960 between the nations of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua in a conference in Managua. These nations ratified the treaties of membership the following year. Costa Rica joined the CACM in 1963.
The organization collapsed in 1969 with the Football War between Honduras and El Salvador, but was then reinstated in 1991.
The CACM has succeeded in removing duties on most products moving among the member countries, and has largely unified external tariffs and increased trade within the member nations. However, it has not achieved the further goals of greater economic and political unification that were hoped for at the organization's founding, mainly caused by the CACM's inability and lack of reliable means to settle trade disputes.
With the proposal of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, it is possible that this new organization will replace the CACM (or make it redundant) by 2005. Further, the implementation of the DR-CAFTA may render this common market redundant.
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is a preferential trading area with twenty member states stretching from Libya to Zimbabwe. COMESA formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981. 9 of the member states formed a free trade area in 2000, with Rwanda and Burundi joining the FTA in 2004 and the Comoros and Libya in 2006.
COMESA is one of the pillars of the African Economic Community. The Secretary-General of COMSEA is Erastus J.O. Mwencha.
Current members: Angola (21 Dec 1981), Burundi (21 Dec 1981), Comoros (21 Dec 1981), Democratic Republic of the Congo (21 Dec 1981), Djibouti (21 Dec 1981), Egypt (6 Jan 1999), Eritrea (1994), Ethiopia (21 Dec 1981), Kenya (21 Dec 1981), Libya (3 June 2005) (at the 10th Summit of COMESA), Madagascar (21 Dec 1981), Malawi (21 Dec 1981), Mauritius (21 Dec 1981), Rwanda (21 Dec 1981), Seychelles (2001), Sudan (21 Dec 1981), Swaziland (21 Dec 1981), Uganda (21 Dec 1981), Zambia (21 Dec 1981), Zimbabwe (21 Dec 1981). Former members: Lesotho (quit in 1997), Mozambique (quit in 1997), Tanzania (quit on September 2, 2000), Namibia (quit in May 2, 2004).
The following organs have decision-making power according to the treaties:
- The Authority, composes of Heads of States or Government.
- The Council of Ministers
- The COMESA Court of Justice
- The Committee of Governors of Central Banks
The following organs make recommendations to the institutions above:
- The Inter-governmental Committee
- The twelve Technical Committees
- The Consultative Committee of the Business Community and other Interest Groups
- The Secretariat. The Secretary General is appointed by the Authority for a duration of five years.
Other institutions created to promote development are:
- The COMESA Trade and Development Bank in Nairobi, Kenya
- The COMESA Clearing House in Harare, Zimbabwe
- The COMESA Association of Commercial Banks in Harare, Zimbabwe
- The COMESA Leather Institute in Ethiopia
- The COMESA Re-Insurance Company (ZEP-RE)in Nairobi, Kenya
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf
The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, formerly named and still commonly called Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional organization involving the six Persian Gulf Arab States with many economic and social objectives in mind. Created May 25, 1981, the Council is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
It should be noted that not all of the countries neighboring the Persian Gulf are members of the council. Specifically, Iran and Iraq are not members. The common and internationally recognized term "Persian Gulf" is not used in the name of the organization, as the governments of these Arab countries since 1960s refer to the Persian Gulf as the "Arabian Gulf" which is the ancient name of the present-day Red Sea (see Dispute over the name of the Persian Gulf).
Yemen is currently (as of 2006) in negotiations for GCC membership, and hopes to join by 2016.
Among the stated objectives are: Formulating similar regulations in various fields such as economy, finance, trade, customs, tourism, legislation, and administration; Fostering scientific and technical progress in industry, mining, agriculture, water and animal resources; Establishing scientific research centres; Setting up joint ventures; Encouraging cooperation of the private sector; Strengthening ties between their peoples; Establishing a common currency by 2010.
Secretaries-general of GCC Abdullah Bishara (Kuwait) : 26 May 1981 - Apr 1993 . Fahem ibn Sultan al-Qasimi (United Arab Emirates) :Apr 1993 - Apr 1996. Jamil ibn Ibrahim al-Hujailan (Saudi Arabia) : Apr 1996 - 31 Mar 2002. Abdul Rahman ibn Hamad al-Attiyah (Qatar) : 1 Apr 2002 - current.
East African Community
The East African Community (EAC) is a customs union in East Africa, consisting of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. It was founded in January 2001 at a ceremony held in the Tanzanian city of Arusha, which is also its headquarters, reviving an earlier effort abandoned in 1977. This new EAC treaty paved the way for an economic and, ultimately, political union of the three countries. A further treaty signed in March 2004 set up a customs union, which commenced on 1 January 2005. Under the terms of the treaty, Kenya, the richest of the three countries, will pay duty on its goods entering Uganda and Tanzania until 2010. A common system of tariffs will apply to other countries supplying the three countries with goods.
EAC is one of the pillars of the African Economic Community. Members - Kenya (2001), Uganda (2001), Tanzania (2001). Note: Burundi and Rwanda are set to join the EAC in 2006.
The East African region covers an area of 1.8 million square kilometres with a combined population of about 100 million (July 2005 est.) and has vast natural resources. The three countries are relatively prosperous compared to their war-torn neighbours such as the Congo and southern Sudan. History. When the first EAC collapsed in 1977, the three member states lost over sixty years of co-operation and the benefits of economies of scale. Each of the former member states had to embark, at great expense and at lower efficiency, upon the establishment of services and industries that had previously been provided at the Community level.
The EAC made such political and economic sense that it was inevitable that its revival would be touted once the political climate in the region stabilised. It was no surprise, therefore, when Presidents Moi of Kenya, Mwinyi of Tanzania, and Museveni of Uganda signed the Treaty for East African Co-operation in Arusha, Tanzania, on November 30, 1993, and established a Tri-partite Commission for Co-operation. A process of re-integration was embarked on, involving tripartite programmes of co-operation in political, economic, social and cultural fields, research and technology, defence, security, legal and judicial affairs.
The East African Community was finally revived on 30 November 1999, when the Treaty for its re-establishment was signed. It came into force on 7 July 2000, twenty-three years after the total collapse of the defunct erstwhile Community and its organs.
The reinvigorated East African Community (EAC) articulates itself as based on the principles of good governance deemed to include adherence to democratic principles, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, gender equality and most pertinently in this context, “recognition, promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR).
Future plans. There are plans to introduce a common currency, the East African shilling, by 2009. East African Court of Justice - The East African Court of Justice is the judicial arm of the the Community. East African Legislative Assembly - The East African Legislative Assembly is the legislative ar of the Community.
Pacific Islands Forum
The Pacific Islands Forum is an inter-governmental consultative organization which aims to enhance cooperation between the independent countries of the Pacific Ocean and represent their interests. It was founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum; the name was changed in 2000 to better reflect the correct geographic locations of its member states both in the north and south Pacific.
Member states are: Australia, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
The decisions of the Forum are implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), which grew out of the South Pacific Economic Cooperation bureau (SPEC). As well as its role in harmonising regional positions on various political and policy issues, the Forum Secretariat has technical programmes in economic development, transport and trade, and chairs the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP).
New Zealand and Australia are much larger in population (with the exception of Papua New Guinea) and wealthier than the other small, poor, and in some cases outright impoverished island nations that make up the rest of the forum. They are significant aid donors and big markets for exports (for instance, through a concessional tariff deal on textiles exports from Fiji to Australia). Australia's population is around twice that of the other 15 members combined and its economy more than five times larger. In Papua New Guinea (in Bougainville) and the Solomons, New Zealand and Australia have recently conducted peacekeeping/stabilization military operations. These military assistance/intervention are legitimized by the Biketawa Declaration, which was adopted at the 31st Summit of Pacific Islands Forum, held at Kiribati in October 2000.
History. From 5 to 7 August 1971, the first meeting of South Pacific Forum was initiated by New Zealand and held in Wellington, with attendants of seven countries including the President of Nauru, the Prime Ministers of Western Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, the Premier of the Cook Islands, the Australian Minister for External Territories, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand. It was a private and informal discussion of a wide range of issues of common concern, concentrating on matters directly affecting the daily lives of the people of the islands of the South Pacific, devoting particular attention to trade, shipping, tourism, and education. Afterwards this meeting was held annually in member countries and areas in turn. In 1999, the 30th South Pacific Forum decided to transform into Pacific Islands Forum, with relatively more extensive and formal way of discussion and organization. Immediately after the forum’s annual meeting at head of government level, the post-forum dialogue is conducted at ministerial level with forum dialogue partners around the world.
Main policies. The mission of Pacific Islands Forum is “to work in support of Forum member governments, to enhance the economic and social well-being of the people of the South Pacific by fostering cooperation between governments and between international agencies, and by representing the interests of Forum members in ways agreed by the Forum”.
Membership. So far (2006) there are 16 member countries, including (in alphabetical order) Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
12 Forum dialogue partners include (in alphabetical order) Canada, China, European Union, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, UK, and USA. Institutions and legal framework. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat was established initially as a ‘Trade Bureau’ in 1972 and later became the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Cooperation (SPEC). The name South Pacific Forum Secretariat was approved by member governments in 1988 and changed to Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in 2000.
There are four divisions in the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and each of these divisions has direct responsibility for a range of programs designed to improve the capacity of the Forum member countries and to co-ordinate action on matters of common interest: 1. Development and Economic Policy 2. Trade and Investment 3. Political, International and Legal Affairs 4. Corporate Services.
Pacific Regional Trade Agreement. The aim of Pacific Regional Trade Agreement is to boost trade between the island nations of the Pacific. Australia and New Zealand are associate members of PARTA.
South American Community of Nations
The South American Community of Nations (CSN) (Spanish: Comunidad Sudamericana de Naciones, Portuguese: Comunidade Sul-Americana de Nacoes, Dutch: Zuid-Amerikaanse Statengemeenschap) will be a continent-wide free trade zone that will unite two existing free-trade organizations—Mercosur and the Andean Community—eliminating tariffs for non-sensitive products by 2014 and sensitive products by 2019. The headquarters of this new organization will be in Lima while the South American Bank will be in Brasilia according to the agreements during the meetings. Complete integration between the Andean Community and Mercosur into the South American Community of Nations is expected by 2007.
At the Third South American Summit, on 8 December 2004, presidents or representatives from twelve South American nations signed the Cuzco Declaration, a two-page statement of intent, announcing the foundation of the South American Community. Panama attended the signing ceremony as observer.
Leaders announced their intention to model the new community after the European Union, including a common currency, parliament, and passport. According to Allan Wagner, Secretary General of the Andean Community, a complete union like that of the EU should be possible by 2019.
The mechanics of the new entity should come out at the First South American Community of Nations Heads of State Summit, to be held in Brasilia, in September 29-30 2005. A constitution is also expected to be drafted in 2005. The Second Summit will be held in Bolivia. No new institutions will be created in the first phase, so as not to increase bureaucracy, and the community will use the existing institutions belonging to the previous trade blocs.
Origins. Simon Bolivar—known as El Libertador ("The Liberator"), directly responsible for the independence of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia in the early years of the 19th century, and honored with statues in the capital cities of practically every Spanish American nation had the goal of creating a federation of Spanish American nations to ensure prosperity and security after independence. Bolivar never achieved this goal, and died an unpopular figure because of his heavy-handed attempts to establish strong central governments in the nations he led to independence.
The 12 community members: Members of the Andean Community (CAN): Bolivia (will start the process of joining Mercosur in 2006) Colombia Ecuador Peru Members of Mercosur: Argentina Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Venezuela Other countries: Chile (will start the process of rejoining CAN in 2006) Guyana Suriname.
These countries are also considered to be associate members of Mercosur These countries are also considered to be associate members of the Andean Community.
Guyana and Suriname are currently members of CARICOM and entered its single market in 2006. It is unknown if simultaneous SACN and CARICOM membership would be possible to accomplish and most probably these states will remain SACN associate members only. Observer states: Panama Mexico (Mexico is not located in South America; it is already part of the NAFTA bloc)
The following South American areas not participating:
- Aruba which is a country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and therefore an Overseas Country of the European Union
- Falkland Islands which is an British overseas territory of the United Kingdom and therefore an Overseas Territory of the European Union; it is disputed by Argentina, which also claims the islands and refers to them as the Islas Malvinas.
- French Guiana which is a departement d'outre-mer of France and is therefore part of the European Union parts of the Netherlands Antilles which is a country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and therefore an Overseas Country of the European Union South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands which is an British overseas territory of the United Kingdom and therefore an Overseas Territory of the European Union.
- Trinidad and Tobago which is a Caribbean island and member of the CARICOM
Current works in progress. The South American Community of Nations started plans of integration with the construction of the Interoceanic highway, a road that intends to unite Peru with Brazil by extending a highway through Bolivia, giving that country a path to the sea, while Brazil would obtain access to the Pacific Ocean and Peru to the Atlantic Ocean. Construction started in September 2005, financed 60% by Brazil and 40% by Peru. It is estimated to be done by 2009.
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SAARC, proposed by Ziaur Rahman, the then-president of Bangladesh, was established on December 8, 1985. SAARC is an association of seven countries of South Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan has been accepted as a new member, but the membership procedures have not yet been completed.
SAARC encourages cooperation in agriculture, rural development, science and technology, culture, health, population control, narcotics control and anti-terrorism. SAARC has intentionally stressed these "core issues" and avoided more divisive political issues, above all the Kashmir dispute which bitterly divides the two largest member states, India and Pakistan. However, political dialogue is often conducted on the margins of SAARC meetings.
In 1993, SAARC countries signed an agreement to gradually lower tariffs within the region. Nine years later, at the 12th SAARC summit at Islamabad, SAARC countries devised the South Asia Free Trade Agreement which created a framework for the establishment of a free trade zone covering 1.4 billion people. This agreement went into force on January 1, 2006.
Membership. Current members: Afghanistan (in statu nascendi) Bangladesh Bhutan India Maldives Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka Observer nations: Japan China (PRC) South Korea United States European Union
Areas of Cooperation Agriculture and Rural Development Health, Population Activities & Poverty Women, Youth and Children Environment and Forestry Science and Technology and Meteorology Human Resources Development Transport Disaster management Removal of terrorism
Future Membership. On 22 February 2005, the Foreign Minister of Iran, Kamal Kharrazi, indicated Iran's interest in joining SAARC, saying that his country could provide the region with "East-West connectivity".
The People's Republic of China has also been suggested as a possible SAARC member, such membership being encouraged by Pakistan and Bangladesh. However, India is more reluctant about the prospect of Chinese membership, while Bhutan does not even have diplomatic relations with China. At the 2005 summit in Dhaka, member states decided to give China and Japan observer status.
In April 2006, the United States of America and South Korea made formal requests to be granted observer status. A positive response was given by SAARC though the detail for these two countries' observer status have not yet been finalised. The European Union has also indicated interest in being given observer status, and made a formal request for the same to the SAARC Council of Ministers meeting in July 2006.
On August 2nd, 2006 Foreign ministers of SAARC countries agreed in principle to grant observer status to the US, South Korea and the European Union.
Results of Dhaka 2005 Summit. On November 13, 2005, the Dhaka Summit issued a declaration to admit the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as a member, and to accord observer status to China and Japan. The nations also agreed to organize development funds under a single financial institution with a permanent secretariat, that would cover all SAARC programs ranging from social, to infrastructure, to economic ones.
Southern African Customs Union
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is a customs union among the countries of Southern Africa. SACU came into existence on December 11, 1969 with the signature of the Customs Union Agreement between Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. It entered into force on March 1, 1970, thereby replacing the Customs Union Agreement of 1910.
Functions and organization. SACU is the oldest Customs Union in the world. It meets annually to discuss matters related to the Agreement. There are also technical liaison committees, namely the Customs Technical Liaison Committee, the Trade and Industry Liaison committee and the Ad hoc Sub-Committee on Agriculture, which meet three times a year.
Its aim is to maintain the free interchange of goods between member countries. It provides for a common external tariff and a common excise tariff to this common customs area. All customs and excise collected in the common customs area are paid into South Africa’ national Revenue Fund. The Revenue is shared among members according to a revenue-sharing formula as described in the agreement. South Africa is the custodian of this pool. Only the BLNS Member States' shares are calculated with South Africa receiving the residual. SACU revenue constitutes a substantial share of the state revenue of the BLNS countries.
Latest developments and structure. Following the formation of the Government of National Unity in South Africa in April 1994, Member States concurred that the present Agreement should be renegotiated in order to democratise SACU and address the current needs of the SACU Member States more effectively.
With this in mind, the Ministers of Trade and Industry of the five member states met in Pretoria on November 11, 1994 to discuss the renegotiation of the 1969 agreement. The Ministers appointed a Customs Union Task Team (CUTT) which was mandated to make recommendations to the Ministers. CUTT has met on numerous occasions in the various Members States and good progress has been made in the renegotiation process.
At a meeting of Ministers of Trade and Finance Departments from the five SACU Member States, held in Centurion, Pretoria on September 5, 2000, the Ministers reached consensus on the principles of underpinning the Institutional reform in the SACU.
The Administrative Institutional structure of the revenue pool that was discussed was agreed to consist of the following:
- Council of Ministers: A body represented by one Minister from each SACU member state. It would be the supreme SACU decision-making body and would meet on quarterly basis. The decisions taken by this Council would only be by consensus.
- Commission: Administrative body comprised of Senior Officials, three Technical Liaison Committees and an established Agricultural Liaison Committee.
- Tribunal: An independent body of experts. It would report directly to the Council of Ministers. The tribunal would be responsible for tariff-setting and the Anti-dumping Mechanism.
- Secretariat: Responsible for day to day operations of the pool. It would also be funded from the revenue pool. Its location would be determined by Senior Officials who were directed to meet after a period of a month to develop proposals for the implementation of the revised SACU Institutional Structure.
SACU Ministers further agreed that the revenue share accruing to each Member State should be calculated from three basic components: a share of the customs pool; a share of the excise pool; and a share of a development component Further, it was agreed that these three different components would be distributed as follows: The customs component should be allocated according to each country’s share of total intra-SACU trade, including re-exports.
The excise component, net of the development component, should be allocated on the basis of GDP. The development component should be fixed at 15% of the total excise pool and distributed to all SACU members according to the inverse of each country’s GDP/capita.
By late 2004 SACU was negotiating a Free Trade deal with the United States. A Free Trade deal is scheduled to be signed between it and Iceland in November 2005 and to become active in the beginning of 2006.
Most active regional blocs
|Regional bloc 1||Area (km2)||Population||GDP ($US) in millions||GDP per capita||Member states 1|
|Reference blocs and countries 2||Area (km2)||Population||GDP ($US) in millions||GDP per capita||Political divisions|
|China (PRC) 4||9,596,960||1,306,847,624||8,182,000||6,3||33|
|1 - Including data only for full and most active members|
|2 - The first two states in the World by area, population and GDP (PPP)|
|3 - Including non-sovereign autonomous entities of other states|
|4 - Data for the People's Republic of China does not include Hong Kong, Macau and regions administered by the Republic of China (Taiwan). smallest value among the blocs compared largest value among the blocs compared|
|During 2004. Source: CIA World Factbook 2005, IMF WEO Database|
Source - "Wikipedia"