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Good Progress Being Made On African Tripartite FTA

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

20 August 2014

It was indicated, at the recent 34th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of States and Governments Summit, that negotiations for the tripartite free trade agreement (FTA), with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC), are at an advanced stage.

A timetable for the SADC-COMESA-EAC tripartite FTA, a regional market of 26 countries with a total population of almost 600m people and a total gross domestic product of over USD1 trillion, envisaged the first phase of tariff negotiations on allowing the free market access for goods to be completed by the end of this year, while a second phase would then tackle trade in services and other issues, for finalization of the total agreement in 2016.

During his statement to the Summit, President of Malawi Peter Mutharika indicated that "negotiations for the tripartite FTA are at an advanced stage, paving the way for finalization in 2016. … The COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Summit is scheduled for October 2014, at which we shall have the opportunity to review progress with the implementation of the tripartite program to date, and provide further guidance to this process. It is important that we keep the momentum in the tripartite negotiations because it is one of the key building blocks of achieving continental integration."

SADC's Director of Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment, Boitumelo Gofhamodimo, is also reported to have confirmed that "we expect to conclude the [goods tariff] negotiations by end of the year. It is one arrangement which is very important in boosting trade and deepening integration."

TAGS: South Africa | tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | Djibouti | Eritrea | Mauritius | Swaziland | Zimbabwe | law | tariffs | Angola | Comoros | Ethiopia | Lesotho | Libya | Madagascar | Malawi | Mozambique | Sudan | agreements | Botswana | Congo, Democratic Republic of the | Egypt | Kenya | Namibia | Rwanda | Uganda | Zambia | import duty | trade | Burundi | Ghana | Seychelles | Tanzania | services | Africa

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