The SADC Trade Related Facility (TRF) is established through a Contribution Agreement concluded between the European Commission (as Contracting Authority) and the SADC Secretariat on 28 July 2014. The project implementation period commenced on 1 October 2014 for a period of 60 months to 30 September 2019. Given the late start to Member State implementation (July 2017) the programme was extended by two years to 30 September 2021, on a no-cost basis. With the effects of COVID-19, which affected the whole world, a further six months no-cost extension was provided in April 2021 to end date of 31 March 2022.
As a pilot programme, the TRF aims for the first time to channel EU funds directly to the SADC Member States through the SADC Secretariat, as a financial incentive for supporting deeper levels of economic integration in the SADC Region through enhanced regional and international trade. The Fund (EUR22.8m) has a focus on providing financial and technical assistance to the 12 participating Member States in strengthening their capacity to meet their trade commitments under two windows: (1) STP Window (EUR16.8m) and (2) EPA Window (EUR6.0m).
The objective of the TRF Programme is to improve the participation of SADC Member States in regional and international trade in order to contribute to sustainable development in the SADC Region. TRF seeks to provide a flexible and innovative mechanism for countries to implement key national priorities on trade and economic development where they converge with existing regional commitments. National level projects financed by the TRF Programme primarily focus on the areas of trade facilitation, addressing technical and non-technical barriers to trade, and industrial development. Other activities supported by the TRF Programme include those that support the implementation of the European Partnership Agreement (EPA), primarily where it intersects with the SADC Protocol on Trade. The TRF Programme promotes awareness raising around EPA among private sector players in SADC-EPA countries. The EPAs are firmly anchored on the objectives of sustainable development, human rights and development cooperation that are at the core of the Cotonou Agreement.
The TRF has two key performance areas
(i) KPA 1: Support provided to the implementation of the SADC Trade Protocol (STP) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA); and
Key Result 1: STP Window: Higher level of compliance and implementation of the STP commitments by the SADC Member States that includes:
(i) Enhancing Customs Co-Operation
(ii) Addressing Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
(iii) Improving application of Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Measures
(iv) Effective Implementation of Rules of Origin (RoO)
(v) Promoting Customs & Trade Facilitation
(vi) Stimulating Productive Competitiveness and Industrial Development, with particular focus on Value-Chain Development
(vii) Promoting Trade Promotion and Development
(viii) Increasing Trade in Services, through regulatory reforms
Key Result 2: EPA Window: SADC EPA States are better prepared to effectively implement and monitor the EPA and benefit from it, particularly in terms of improved market access that includes:
(i) Improving application of Trade Remedies and Trade Defence Mechanisms
(ii) Trade-related Adjustment
(iii) Strengthening Competition Policy and Law
(ii) KPA 2: The TRF Programme is effectively and efficiently managed and co-ordinated.
To enhance the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Trade and the SADC-EU EPA in order to increase intra-regional and inter-regional trade flows of the concerned Member States.