African Free Trade Zone Agreement

Israel Osorio Rodarte is an economist in the Department of Trade and Regional Integration at the World Bank. He has more than 10 years of experience in international development, including economic diversification, structural change and analysis of the distribution of trade and macroeconomic policies. The framework itself stipulates that by 2022, participating countries will have to remove tariffs on 90% of the products they produce and remove non-tariff barriers, such as tariff delays at borders, import quotas, subsidies, regulatory bottlenecks, etc. “This is essential, as services account for about 60% of Africa`s GDP and, for example, account for 30% of world services trade in 2014. Markets for national services will be open to service providers from other African countries,” Muchanga said. Given that the Nigerian government continued to consult with local business groups in the second half of 2018, one of the main concerns was whether the agreement adequately prevented anti-competitive practices such as dumping. [59] At the close of 2018, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the delay was “regrettable” and stressed the lack of trade in goods between African countries, the difficulties in getting from one African country to another, and the colonial legacy of these restrictions on Africa`s growth. [60] The government steering committee responsible for the consultation process is expected to release its report on the agreement in January 2019. [61] “Africa could be seen as a huge market in the trade negotiations phase. This could lead to a new engine of growth across the continent,” said Ngaire Woods of the Dean Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. The strongest safeguards are “trade remedies,” including a measure allowing countries to apply anti-dumping duties on imports below their fair value, to offset the impact of duties on imports subject to unjustified subsidies. Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry, told Africa Renewal that the African Free Trade Agreement will not be a traditional trade agreement focused on tariff reduction.