Botswana - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Agreements

Describes trade agreements this country is a party to. Includes resources where U.S. companies can get information on how to take advantage of these agreements.

Last published date: 2022-08-02

Recognizing the problems that its small domestic market ultimately poses for investors, Botswana continues to promote trade by pursuing free trade agreements with its neighbors as well as other developed and developing countries.

Southern African Customs Union (SACU)

With the exception of certain foodstuffs, import permits are not required for goods entering Botswana from other SACU member states.  Botswana’s membership in SACU allows investors to take advantage of selling duty free in the larger Southern African market.  The SACU Secretariat based in Namibia is responsible for implementing the SACU Agreement as well as for improving economic performance of the union’s member states.  U.S.-SACU Free Trade Agreement negotiations were suspended in April 2006, largely due to divergent views on the scope for the agreement.  Instead of a free trade agreement, the United States and SACU negotiated a Trade, Investment, and Development Cooperative Agreement (TIDCA) that would establish a forum for consultative discussions on a wide range of trade and investment issues.  A Consultative Group will oversee the implementation of the TIDCA and provide a framework for working on a range of interim-trade-related agreements, cooperative programs, and other trade development steps that would set the platform for future free trade agreement negotiations.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Protocol

SADC’s objective is to pursue a common integration plan based on economic, political, and trade interests (members:  Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, eSwatini, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Seychelles, and Malawi).  The SADC Free Trade Area (FTA), though in place, is not yet implemented.  In August 2008, Botswana was one of the 12 SADC members to sign the FTA.  Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo are yet to sign.  Under the SADC FTA, tariffs and non-tariff barriers will be eliminated on substantially all trade between the members.  The implementation of the FTA started in 2000 following the signing of the SADC Trade Protocol.  Through the FTA, 85% of trade in goods produced in the region will move across borders free of customs duties.  Trade liberalization has taken place at different rates.  The more developed member states (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, eSwatini and Lesotho) have reduced tariffs at a faster rate.

World Trade Organization

Following its accession to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), Botswana became a member of the WTO in 1995.

SADC – EU Economic Partnership Agreement

Botswana has signed an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU).  The EPA provides duty and quota-free access on goods to the EU markets.  Negotiations need to be completed on the treatment of services and new generation issues.

China and India

Botswana, as part of SACU, launched free trade negotiations with both China and India.  The negotiating parties have exchanged lists of goods that would benefit from lower tariffs.

Mercosur

SACU signed a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) on December 16, 2004, with the South American customs union known as Mercosur, comprised of:  Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.  The agreement creates the legal framework for improved trade relations between SACU and Mercosur as well as serving as a first step toward the creation of a free trade area between the two regions.

African Growth and Opportunity Act

Botswana is a beneficiary of the U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is set to expire in 2025.  Under AGOA, more than 6,500 product categories of goods are granted duty and quota-free access to the U.S. market.  More information about AGOA is available at www.agoa.info and from the USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub, located in Pretoria and covering Southern Africa including Botswana, on its website at www.satradehub.org.

African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)

Botswana became the 51st country to sign the AfCFTA in February 2019.  The agreement looks to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of businesspersons and investments, paving the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African customs union.

SACUM – UK EPA

SACU member states and Mozambique signed an Economic Partnership Agreement in January 2021 with the UK to cooperate on trade and sustainable development matters and to cooperate on several areas with the support of UK (i.e., development, trade-in-goods, trade-in-services, supply side competitiveness, business enhancing infrastructure, protection of intellectual property rights, public procurement, competition, and tax governance).

SADC EPA States

The Southern African Development Community Economic Partnership Agreement (SADC EPA States) was signed in March 2022 to further strengthen trade links, deepen and encourage economic and trade relations between the parties.

SACU – EFTA FTA

SACU member states entered into an Economic Free Trade Agreement with European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states in 2006 and the agreement entered into force in 2008.

Other Agreements:

SACU – Iceland (Agricultural Agreement)

SACU – Norway (Agricultural Agreement)

SACU – Switzerland (Agricultural Agreement)