COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite FTA to be launched mid-December 2014
Following the last meeting, it was agreed on the need for the expeditious formulation and implementation of a regional industrial programme in order to enable the Tripartite FTA realise inclusive and equitable growth. (Image: German Information Centre Africa)
The COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) would be launched during the Tripartite Summit of Heads of State and Government in mid-December 2014, in Egypt, according to a press release published on the Mauritius Government website.
Taking into account the fact that the majority of the Tripartite Member have made ambitious tariff offers and were agreed on Rules of Origin to be applied in the interim whilst further work continues on product specific Rules of Origin.
Following the Tripartite Sectoral Committee of Ministers meeting held last year in Bujumbura, Burundi, where Mauritius was represented by the Director, International Trade Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Assad Bhuglah, the outcomes were as follow:
The meeting agreed on the need for the expeditious formulation and implementation of a regional industrial programme in order to enable the Tripartite FTA realise inclusive and equitable growth.
Encompassing 26 members from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), with a combined population of 625 million people and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 1.2 trillion, the Tripartite FTA will account for half of the membership of the African Union and 58% of the continent’s GDP.
Popularly known as the Grand Free Trade Area, the Tripartite FTA, will become the largest economic bloc on the continent and the launching pad for the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area in 2017.
Furthermore, the Tripartite FTA will offer significant opportunities for business and investment within the Tripartite and will attract foreign direct investment into the Tripartite region.
The business community, in particular, will benefit from an improved and harmonised trade regime which will reduce the cost of doing business as a result of the elimination of overlapping trade regimes due to multiple memberships.
Finally, the launching of the Tripartite Free Trade Area will be the first phase of implementing a developmental regional integration strategy that places high priority on infrastructure development, industrialisation and free movement of business persons.
About the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite:
The Tripartite is an umbrella organization consisting of three of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (REC’s), namely: the East Africa Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite was established in 2005 with the main objective of strengthening and deepening economic integration of the southern and eastern Africa region.
This is being achieved through various initiatives aimed at harmonising policies and programmes of the three regional economic communities (RECs) in the areas of trade, customs and infrastructure development, and implementing these in a coordinated manner, and wherever possible jointly.