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TFA To Support African Integration, WTO Head Says

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

22 March 2016


The World Trade Organization's (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) will support regional integration in Africa, the Director-General of the WTO, Roberto Azevêdo, said during a seminar in Cape Town.

"I would say that the need for better integration across the continent is indisputable," the Director-General said. He noted that intra-African trade remains just a tenth of Africa's total trade, and that the cost of moving goods within Africa is twice the global average.

Azevêdo also pointed out that an African company faces an average tariff of 8.7 percent when selling within Africa, against 2.5 percent elsewhere.

The Director-General said that tackling these barriers would help drive Africa's integration globally. He said that the TFA can help to do this by providing a "very practical mechanism" for taking regional free trade agreements forward.

The TFA will create binding commitments across all WTO members to expedite the movement, release, and clearance of goods and improve cooperation among WTO members in customs matters, forming part of international efforts under the Doha Round to cut tax barriers to trade on a global basis. In addition, the Agreement states that assistance and support should be provided to help least-developed countries implement the TFA.

TAGS: South Africa | tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | export duty | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | agreements | import duty | trade | Africa

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