Common Market for East and Southern Africa
The Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community has urged Member States that have not yet signed and ratified the AfCFTA and the TFTA to do so to allow for the implementation of the agreements.
Private sector lobbies in Africa’s six regional trading blocs have formed the African Business Council, a continental umbrella body to spearhead the business agenda for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Ministers from the tripartite group of regional economic communities in eastern and southern Africa have set June 2021 as the deadline to achieve the threshold of 14 ratifications required to enable the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) enter into force.
Zambia has become the latest country to ratify the Tripartite Free Trade Area, bringing the number of countries that have ratified the agreement and deposited the instruments to nine. The agreement, being pursued by COMESA, the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), needs a total of 14 countries to enter into force.
Taiwan’s Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association encouraged Taiwanese companies to take advantage of free trade deals in Africa.
The COMESA Business Council recently convened a webinar on “Unlocking Food Security Through Improved Seed Trade in COMESA” aimed at discussing issues of access to quality and affordable seed and challenges in trade facilitation in the movement of seed across borders amidst COVID-19.
Kenya is reluctant to seek extension of safeguards that protect the country from importation of cheap sugar from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).
At least 82% of the reported Non-Tariff Barriers in the COMESA region are those imposed on imports and exports of goods and services and are largely operational by design. According to trade experts, these type of NTBs are easy to identify and monitor.
With the growing concern over the traditional ISDS system, it is highly unlikely that the AfCFTA will include an ISDS mechanism giving investors access to go to international arbitration under conventional international tribunals.
Under market integration, 22 countries out of 28 have now signed the TFTA Agreement, while eight have signed and ratified.
Namibia is the latest to ratify the TFTA agreement. Seven countries are expected to complete the ratification process before the end of this year paving the way for its implementation.
Namibia has become the eighth country to ratify the Tripartite Free Trade Area. Six more countries are required for the agreement to enter into force.
Cabinet in Zimbabwe has approved the ratification of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA).
EAC’s increased exports to SADC excluding Tanzania was as a result of the increased benefits arising from the membership to the EAC-COMESA-SADC Tripartite.
The TFTA will also be a building bloc for the African Continental Free Trade Area, COMESA official said.
Members of the Lower House approved the agreement establishing a Tripartite Free Trade Area among the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community, and the Southern African Development Community.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) will be launched on 7 July 2019 in Niamey, Niger, by the Heads of State and Government at an extraordinary summit of the African Union.
The deadline set by the Tripartite Council of Ministers for member States of three regional economic blocs to sign and ratify the tripartite free trade area lapses this month.
The deposit of the instrument means that South Africa has formally and legally committed to the TFTA.
Member states in the Comesa trading bloc who introduce new non-tariff barriers to trade may face sanctions as trade experts prepare to present this tough condition to Heads of State.