Southern African Customs Union (SACU)

SACU OrbThe Southern African Customs Union (SACU), an African regional economic organization, is the world's oldest customs union, founded in 1910. Its members include Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. The five member states maintain a common external tariff, share customs revenues, and coordinate policies and decision-making on a wide range of trade issues.

On July 16, 2008, the United States and SACU signed a Trade, Investment, and Development Cooperative Agreement (TIDCA).

The TIDCA establishes a forum for consultative discussions, cooperative work, and possible agreements on a wide range of trade issues, with a special focus on customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and trade and investment promotion.

The TIDCA is designed to build on and potentially capture some of the progress made in previous Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between the United States and SACU, which were suspended in 2006 due to divergent views on the scope and level of ambition for a FTA. Ideally, the TIDCA will help to put in place the "building blocks" for a future FTA, which remains a longer-term objective for both the United States and SACU.

Southern African Customs Union Trade & Investment Summary

U.S. goods exports to SACU in 2022 were $6.9 billion, up 21.3 percent ($1.2 billion) from 2021 but down 12 percent from 2012. U.S. goods imports from SACU totaled $15.7 billion in 2022, down 5.1 percent ($835 million) from 2021, but up 65 percent from 2012.  The U.S. goods trade deficit with SACU was $8.8 billion in 2022, a 18.8 percent decrease ($2.0 billion) over 2021.

U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in SACU (stock) was $7.4 billion in 2022, a 11.9 percent increase from 2021.