The CDAA continues to work towards the effective implementation of the free trade area and to help member states begin trade negotiations and implement trade agreements. The CDAA supports the intensification of free trade as part of its agenda for the eradication of poverty in southern Africa. As part of its long-term regional integration goals, the CDAA established a free trade area in 2008. In this area, Member States withdrew tariffs on trade between them, but were able to impose their own external tariffs on imports from third countries. In January 2008, 12 Member States signed free trade agreements that reduce tariffs to 85% of intra-regional imports. Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Seychelles have yet to join the free trade area. Non-participating Member States currently benefit from the assistance of the accession secretariat. As part of its regional integration programme, SADC has made considerable progress in removing trade barriers and has fostered growth in the region. CDIC has also signed a protocol on trade in services to ensure the liberalization of trade in services. The CDAA Free Trade Area was reached in August 2008, when a phased tariff reduction programme, launched in 2001, achieved minimum conditions for the free trade area – 85% of intra-regional trade between partner countries did not achieve tariffs. Improved merchandise trade opportunities: The EPA guarantees access to the EU market without tariffs or quotas for Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini. South Africa enjoys new market access under the EU-South Africa Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), which currently governs trade relations with the EU until October 2016 (when the EPA came into force on an interim basis, which lifted the trade component of the TDCA).
The new access includes better trading conditions, particularly in agriculture and fishing, including wine, sugar, fish products, flowers and fruit preserves. The EU will benefit from new valid access to the southern African customs union (whose products include wheat, barley, cheese, meat products and butter) and will have the security of a bilateral agreement with Mozambique, one of the region`s LDCs. The online NTB monitoring mechanism is available on www.tradebarriers.org. Operators can report and directly monitor the removal of barriers in the COMESA, ABC and SADC regions. This new system increases transparency and facilitates the tracking of notified and identified NBS. This web-based NTB system is accessible to all economic operators, civil servants, scientific researchers and other interested parties. In the future, SADC is building on the benefits of the free trade area in its next goal of creating a customs union that adds a common external tariff to third countries to domestic free trade within the region. The ultimate goal is to create a common CDAA market that will benefit from internal free trade, a common law and the free movement of labour and capital between Member States. The CDAA Free Trade Area was established in August 2008, after the implementation of the CDAA trade protocol in 2000 laid the groundwork for its creation.   Its original members were Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe with Malawi and Seychelles, who later joined.
Of the 15 member states of the CDAA, only Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo do not participate, but Angolan Trade Minister Joffre Van-Dénen Jenen told Luanda that his ministry was working to create the conditions for Angola`s accession to the CDAA free trade area in 2019.   The CDAA customs union, to be established by 2010 in accordance with SADC`s Regional Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), is unlikely to become a reality in the near future.