The year 2016 will certainly go down as a big one for trade agreements. Two major agreements were implemented in October: on October 10, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA); and on October 21, the Southern African Customs Union’s (Sacu’s) preferential trade agreement with South American bloc Mercusor. A preferential trade agreement provides preferential duties on specific products identified in the agreement. Although a preferential trade agreement may result in elimination of duties on some products covered, it typically results in duties being reduced. Mercusor is made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. However, it should be noted that Venezuela was not a member of Mercusor when the preferential trade agreement was negotiated and therefore does not benefit from the preferential tariffs in the agreement. An additional protocol will have to be negotiated for Venezuela to be party to the preferential trade agreement. At this stage it is not clear when or w...

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