The two political groups agreed on tasks to publicize the benefits of the agreement and called on the private sector in each country to take advantage of it. It was agreed that the next meeting would take place in 2018. The agreement came into force on 1 April 2016 and covers, among others, the textile, manufacturing, machinery, chemical and mineral sectors, which is an important step in South-South relations. In particular, SACU gives preference to MERCOSUR for 1064 tariff positions (from the 2007 harmonized system), which account for about 10% of the tariff universe. Rates are completely eliminated for almost half of these items (470). The rest is divided as follows: 167 positions receive a 50% preference, 144 positions receive one of 25% and 283 positions receive one out of 10%. As a result of the agreement, the average rate of positions included in SACU`s offer will increase from 9.5% to 7.2%. In December 2000, MERCOSUR countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) signed a framework agreement establishing a free trade area between MERCOSUR and South Africa. This framework agreement has set up a negotiating committee for the establishment of a free trade agreement. The aim of the meeting was to work on the preferential trade agreement between MERCOSUR and SACU, signed in April 2009 and subsequently ratified by member states. It is a firm preferential agreement that removes all or part of the tariffs on a number of products. In 2003, SACU began talks with the United States for a free trade agreement, but these were grounded in mid-2006 due to Washington`s high demands. In 2008, a trade and investment cooperation agreement in the area of development cooperation was signed as an interim measure for a comprehensive and final free trade agreement.
In April 2005, SACU signed a preferential trade agreement with the South American bloc mercosur, the first free trade agreement. The agreement was revised in April 2008 to include other protocols. In 2006, SACU signed a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). The two blocs intend to consolidate trade through a tariff preference system In December 2004, MERCOSUR and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), made up of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, signed a preferential trade agreement. In conjunction with the agreement, they reached an agreement on the conclusion of their preferential trade agreement, in which they expressed satisfaction with the conclusion of the agreement and reaffirmed their determination to continue negotiations and strengthen bilateral cooperation to facilitate the implementation of the agreement.