India and South Africa have set a December 2013 deadline to conclude the India-Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) to reduce tariffs and promote cross-border trade and investments between the two countries.
Indian government officials said that Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and his South African counterpart Dr Rob Davis had held talks to expedite the conclusion of the PTA between Sacu and India. This was reiterated by South African Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry Elizabeth Thabethe during her recent visit to New Delhi.
Sacu comprised South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.
Five rounds of negotiations have already been concluded since 2007, when the PTA between India-Sacu was first conceived. In recent years, boosting bilateral trade between India and Southern Africa had assumed a strategic interest for India in view of its rising import dependency on fossil energy and minerals, an official said.