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Comesa urges member states to speed up TFTA

THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) council of ministers has urged member states to speed-up implementation of the tripartite agreement (TFTA).
The COMESA council of ministers have called on those member states that have not signed the agreement to do so and those who have signed to start the ratification process.
In 2015, TFTA was launched with 16 out of 26 countries signing the agreement namely: Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Seychelles, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, although none of the tripartite countries have ratified the agreement.
According to a statement availed to the Daily Mail by COMESA secretariat head of corporate communications Mwangi Gakunga, national consultations on signing are on-going in Lesotho and Seychelles, while similar consultations on ratification are underway in Sudan, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
“The tripartite was founded on three pillars namely market integration, industrial development and infrastructure development. Phase I covers the market integration pillar, which includes the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers, as well as the implementation of trade facilitation measures, all of which are essential for the establishment of a well-functioning TFTA,” he said.
The ministers also urged member states to confirm their tariff offers to other TFTA member/partners states and submit their tariff 2012 books to the secretariat by April 30, 2016.
The books should show clearly all current trade regimes they participate in and duties on products originating from TFTA countries.
On rules of origin, the ministers noted that 47.9 percent of all chapters relating to the negotiation on list rules remained outstanding and these represented 55percent of total intra-tripartite trade value.