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Talks To Be Held On Tripartite African Regional FTA

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

15 September 2010


It has been announced that a meeting will be held in January next year to discuss the formation of the long-heralded tripartite free trade agreement (FTA) between the South African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC).

While COMESA, SADC and ECA include a total of 26 countries, some of those are already members of more than one of the region’s trade blocs. Building on that, a tripartite pan-regional FTA would envisage greater economic coordination between the countries, and is being looked on as a possible forerunner of a closer pan-African economic community.

The January meeting in South Africa will, it is hoped, lay out a roadmap, and constitute the tripartite secretariat, that will aid the negotiation and completion of the FTA by 2012. It is proposed that the tripartite FTA will combine the current FTAs of COMESA, SADC and EAC on a tariff and quota-free basis. It is expected that, by 2012, the three regional FTAs will, except for certain temporary exemptions for sensitive products, already be operating on that basis.

It has been said that the combined free trade area could be instrumental in attracting additional investment into the region, given that the 26 countries have a total population of more than 500m and will have a combined gross domestic product of USD1 trillion by 2012.

TAGS: South Africa | tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | law | tariffs | agreements | trade | Africa

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