Under the so-called SADC EPA, the EU has eliminated some or all tariffs on 98.7% of imports from South Africa, while guaranteeing full access for other signatory countries. Today, the EU remains South Africa`s largest trade and investment partner. Observers have put forward several possible reasons for the halt of FTA negotiations. First, the United States and SACU disagreed on the scope of the negotiations. In keeping with their congressional mandate to pursue comprehensive free trade agreements, U.S. negotiators have attempted to continue negotiations, including intellectual property rights, government procurement, investment, and service rules. However, there are reports that SACU officials have come out in favour of excluding these provisions from the negotiations. They asked first to make market access commitments and then to negotiate the other areas. Now that Congress has the agOA benefits until 2015 thanks to the AGOA Acceleration Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-274), there may be fewer incentives for SACU countries to enter into a free trade agreement with the United States. The United States and SACU also had differing views on how certain industrial sectors should be involved in the negotiations. The United States preferred a so-called negative list, in which all sectors are negotiable unless they are expressly excluded. In the meantime, SACU has preferred a positive list that sets out in advance the sectors to be included in the negotiations and may, over time, include other sectors in the agreement.
Finally, the United States and SACU have distinguished themselves in terms of labor law and environmental legislation. Some observers have speculated that South Africa may be wary of the ongoing WTO negotiations so as not to influence its positions in the WTO.13 Eritrea was not part of the original agreement due to a persistent state of war, but the 2018 peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea ended the conflict and ended the barrier to Eritrea`s participation in the free trade agreement.      The unreconed state of Somaliland did not participate in the discussions on the creation of the agreement. . . .