Following the formation of the Government of National Unity in South Africa in April 1994, Member States agreed that the existing agreement should be renegotiated in order to democratise SACU and more effectively account for the needs of SACU Member States. In this context, the trade and industry ministers of the five Member States met in Pretoria on 11 November 1994 to discuss the renegotiation of the 1969 agreement. Ministers appointed a Customs Union (CUTT) working team to make recommendations to ministers. Mr CUTT met many times in the Member States and said that good progress had been made in the negotiations. 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. 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). As part of the agreement, the parties grant and guarantee adequate, effective and non-discriminatory protection of intellectual property rights (patents, copyrights, commercial drawings, undisclosed information, geographical indications) and guarantee the application of these rights against infringements (counterfeiting, piracy). These obligations are based on existing international agreements. The parties undertake to re-examine this chapter with a view to gradually harmonizing the intellectual property regulatory framework (Article 26). While SACU concluded a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association with four nations on 1 July 2006, negotiations with the United States for a free trade agreement have stalled (as of 8 January 2008).  The 1969 SACU agreement replaced the first-ever SACU agreement of 1910. This agreement was signed in June 1910 and the members were composed of the union of South Africa at the time, South West Africa (now Namibia) and the British territories of the High Commission, which are now Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland. Montevideo, Uruguay. The MERCOSUR and southern African Customs Union (SACU), made up of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, signed a preferential trade agreement on the ninth meeting of the negotiating committee established by the Framework Agreement for the creation of a merCOSUR-SACU free trade agreement in December 2004.
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