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). According to Srikar Reddy, India`s joint secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, total trade between India and Africa amounted to $66.7 billion in 2019-20, including $10.9 billion in specific trade between India and SACU. In 2010, the SACU secretariat also commissioned a study on a possible trade agreement between SACU and the East African Community (EAC). In 2011, SACU endorsed a number of principles that guide free trade agreements and prioritized the continuation of agreements with Mercosur and India. SACU concluded and signed a preferential trade agreement with MERCOSUR, signed by the Ministers of SACU and MERCOSUR in December 2004.
The agreement included an integrated agenda for further negotiations on a number of issues, including rules of origin, SPS and specific requests for additional trade preferences for certain products on both sides. Steve Katjiuanjo, Executive Director of Namibia`s Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development, described India as a strategic partner and noted that the region had access to India`s huge market. According to trade representatives, India was firm and ready to support manufacturing and industry in Namibia in areas as diverse as agriculture, irrigation, renewable energy, ICT, pharmacy and medical care. In 2001, SACU and the United States of America began a process of concluding a free trade agreement between the two parties. Due to differences of opinion on a number of issues, it was agreed in 2004 to suspend this process and explore an alternative approach to improving trade relations between the two parties. In February 2007, the two sides agreed to conclude a Trade, Investment and Cooperation Agreement (TIDCA). This agreement will serve as a framework for formal interaction between the two parties and will serve as the basis for the conclusion of separate agreements on technical issues. The themes identified so far in common were health and plant health measures (SPS), technical barriers to trade (OTC), customs cooperation and the promotion of trade with the private sector.