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Title:The free-trade-zone programmes of Namibia and Mauritius and the latest developments in Europe: lessons for South Africa
Author:Schulze, H. Christian A.W.ISNI
Periodical:The Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa
Geographic terms:Namibia
Subjects:free trade areas
export oriented industries
trade policy
Abstract:Namibia enacted its first Export Processing Zones Act in April 1995 and has been successful in attracting foreign investment. In Mauritius, the Export Processing Zones Act came into operation in 1970 and since then, Mauritius has become one of the most successful export processing zones (EPZs) in the world. In the European Union, however, current plans are slowly to phase out free trade zones and free ports. This article analyses trends as regards such zones in southern Africa and Europe. It intends to stimulate the debate as to whether South Africa should establish a free trade zone programme. It assesses the scope and achievements of the Walvis Bay Export Processing Zone Management Company, the Namibian Offshore Development Company and the EPZ system in Mauritius, compares the applicable labour legislation in Namibia and Mauritius, reviews the situation in Europe, points to the problem of harmful tax competition, and looks at South Africa's industrial development zone (IDZ) policy, which was falsely modelled on the special export or economic zone policy (SEZ) in China. Developments in Namibia and Mauritius are proof that free trade zone programmes do attract foreign investment, which results in the creation of employment. Developments in the EU cannot be used as a negative argument in the South African debate. Notes, ref.