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Mozambique–Zimbabwe Preferential Trade Agreement and SADC

Trade agreements among SADC member as well as with third parties raise many issues of consistency with SADC obligations. A number of statements and papers have raised the consistency of Zimbabwe’s PTAs with Mozambique and Zambia as an issue. The issues facing Mozambique are not unique, even though other SADC members may not yet recognize these same issues in their own arrangements. SADC contains a “best endeavor” obligation to coordinate matters involving third parties, and broad institutional mechanisms to address issues. SADC members must try to agree on interpretations and application and, through cooperation and consultation, to arrive at a mutually satisfactory agreement.

Can Mozambique legally maintain its PTA with Zimbabwe under current SADC rules? If so, how should the PTA be addressed in SADC? If not, could a waiver or amendment of SADC provisions enable implementation of the PTA? SADC does not contain a provision authorizing waivers of obligations, such as exists in GATT Article XXV. It is an issue that should be dealt with comprehensively.

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