A successful merger of the existing CDAA, COMESA and ABC free trade areas would allow for tariff-free trade in a much larger region. The proposed tripartite free trade area would promote greater intra-regional trade in the tripartite region through a number of complementary programmes: as part of its regional integration programme, the CDAA has made considerable progress in removing trade barriers and has encouraged growth in the region. CDIC has also signed a protocol on trade in services to ensure the liberalization of trade in services. The CDAA supports the following strategies to promote trade throughout southern Africa: the CDAA is committed to removing trade barriers, such as import/export quotas and administrative monitoring. The CDAA aims to facilitate trade by simplifying, harmonizing, standardizing and modernizing regional customs procedures. The CDAA Free Trade Area was reached in August 2008, when a phased tariff reduction programme, launched in 2001, achieved minimum conditions for the free trade area – 85% of intra-regional trade between partner countries did not achieve tariffs. Improved merchandise trade opportunities: The EPA guarantees access to the EU market without tariffs or quotas for Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini. South Africa enjoys new market access under the EU-South Africa Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), which currently governs trade relations with the EU until October 2016 (when the EPA came into force on an interim basis, which lifted the trade component of the TDCA). The new access includes better trading conditions, particularly in agriculture and fishing, including wine, sugar, fish products, flowers and fruit preserves. The EU will benefit from new valid access to the southern African customs union (whose products include wheat, barley, cheese, meat products and butter) and will have the security of a bilateral agreement with Mozambique, one of the region`s LDCs. In the future, SADC is building on the benefits of the free trade area in its next goal of creating a customs union that adds a common external tariff to third countries to domestic free trade within the region.
The ultimate goal is to create a common CDAA market that will benefit from internal free trade, a common law and the free movement of labour and capital between Member States. Given that the process of removing tariffs on sensitive products is ongoing until 2012, there is still potential for expansion of intra-SADC trade, as most of the sensitive list products, such as textiles and clothing, leather and leather products, are highly marketable products. The Southern African Development Community (CDAA) Trade Protocol (1996), as amended in 2010, is one of the main legal instruments that guide the CDAA`s trade work. This is an agreement between CDAA member states to reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade in imported goods between CDAA member states. The protocol provided for the creation of a free trade area in the region. The Regional Strategic Development Plan aimed to implement the CDAA Free Trade Area by 2008 and a customs union by 2010. A free trade area in which Member States agree to remove tariffs against each other, while imposing their own external tariffs on third countries, promotes economic cooperation between Member States.