Anadulo Agency – The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has agreed to allow trade in 850 new products pending approval by African Union Heads of State.
Commercialization of the products will commence under the AfCFTA’s Rules of Origin protocol.
Rules of origin are the criteria necessary to determine the national origin of a product. Their importance stems from the fact that, in many cases, the duties and restrictions depend on the source of the imports.
Prior to the identification of the 850 new products, the AfCFTA had already approved 3,800, representing 88% of the number of targeted products to be traded among member countries on the continent.
Ebrahim Patel, South Africa’s trade minister and chairman of the Council of Ministers responsible for trade among African Union member states, described this as a breakthrough.
“In 2019, when African heads of state met, we had already done a tremendous job,” Patel said at an AfCFTA press briefing on Sunday for the 8th meeting of the Council of Ministers.
“At the time, we had agreed on more than 3,800 products for which there were also origins. But there were still a number of products that had not been agreed,” he said.
Patel said the eighth meeting of ministers concluded with a package which has 88% more products on tariffs across the continent for which they have agreed rules of origin.
Wamkele Mene, secretary general of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, said a new payment system, the Pan-African Payments and Settlements Platform, has been launched to help member states trade using a single currency. unique.
“You will know that on January 13, here in Accra, we launched the Pan-African Payments and Settlements Platform, which will allow us to start trading among ourselves as African countries using a local currency rather than a third currency.
“We have 42 currencies in Africa. According to our studies, the cost of currency convertibility exceeds $5 billion a year, and it is not only the monetary cost, but also the cost of a lack of competitiveness, constraints in terms of competitiveness, access to affordable foreign exchange facilities and the lack of affordability of small and medium enterprises wishing to trade across borders, across regions,” he said.
The AfCFTA is a free trade area founded in 2018, with trade beginning on January 1, 2021. It was established by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement between 54 of the 55 countries of the African Union.
The free trade area is the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO).