North-South Free Trade Agreements are supposed to improve African countries’ access to competitive inputs and consumer goods, to assist in creating an enabling trading environment and to help to improve the competitiveness of domestic companies by involving them in international networks. Negative effects such as revenue losses and trade diversion are meant to be offset by safeguard measures, technical assistance, and economic growth. The effects of a free trade agreement between the EU and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries, especially relating to export performance, diversification efforts, industrialisation options and efforts for deeper regional integration, are the major questions the study addresses. In studying sector examples in the SACU countries for successful industrial policy, an investigation is undertaken of how a free trade agreement between the EU and the SACU countries affects domestic policies, economic performance and the position of sectors in the global value chain. The conclusion drawn is that free trade agreements concluded between the EU and southern African countries failed to be development-oriented. Subsequently, policy recommendations are made as to how EU policies towards southern Africa can take industrial development, export diversification and a move towards deeper regional integration better into account.