Southern African countries launch Free Trade Area

August 17th, 2008 - 10:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, Aug 17 (Xinhua) The 14 member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Sunday announced the launch of a Free Trade Area (FTA) to boost economic cooperation in the region. South African President Thabo Mbeki said: “This is a major step towards addressing the problems of poverty and underdevelopment in the region.”

The SDCA seeks to establish a Customs Union by 2010, Common Market by 2015 and creation of a Monetary Union by 2016.

The announcement was made during a summit of the SDCA here to discuss various regional issues, including political crisis in Zimbabwe and free trade.

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