oa Africa Insight - The customs union agreement between Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and the Republic of South Africa

Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



On March 1, 1970, the Customs Agreement of 1910 between the governments of Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and the Republic of South Africa was terminated because it could no longer comply with the demands of changed circumstances. Since the participating countries wished to maintain the free interchange of goods between them and to apply the same tariffs and trade regulations to goods imported from outside the common customs area, a new agreement came into force. This agreement was designed ""to ensure the continued economic development of the customs union area as a whole, and to ensure in particular that these arrangements encourage the development of the less advanced members of the customs union and the diversification of their economies, and afford to all parties equitable benefits arising from trade among themselves and with other countries.""1) To what extent was the new agreement able to satisfy these aims? As a general background to this question, it is appropriate first to discuss the factors conducive or detrimental to a customs union in Southern Africa and the main provisions of the Agreement of 1910.

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