African negotiators begin final round of talks on continental free trade area

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - African trade negotiators have kicked off a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria's administrative capital, to finalise the key planks of a continental free trade agreement, the African Union's trade and industry department said on Tuesday.

The trade negotiators are meeting to finalise sections of a draft treaty on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) whose envisaged completion is expected to lead to further improvements in the trade amongst the African countries.

The AU-mandated technical working group on the CFTA negotiations, is holding the talks 6-17 November to finalise the key sections of the trade treaty, the AU Commission's Department of Trade and Industry said in an official statement.

In Abuja, the Nigerian Trade and Industry Ministry Permanent Secretary, Edet Sunday Akpan, emphasised the CFTA remains a priority agenda for the African Union Assembly.

“It is of vital importance to continue to keep in mind that the CFTA is a significant mandate to the African Union Summit. It is the hope of the leaders that significant achievements are recorded in the near future," Akpan said.

Mrs. Treasure Maphanga, AU Director for Trade and Industry, said the talks made substantial progress at their last Negotiating Forum in Addis Ababa in October 2017.

“We have witnessed the CFTA Chief Negotiators confirming their commitment to conclude the CFTA Agreement by the end of 2017. They have clearly outlined the benefits that will accrue from the establishment of the CFTA," she said.

African Union Ministers of Trade are expected to meet in Niamey, Niger, to consider the Draft Texts on the Agreement Establishing the CFTA, Protocols and annexes.

The Director for Trade and Industry acknowledged that the assignment ahead of the participants is very critical to the conclusion of the CFTA Negotiations by end of this year.

Mrs. Maphanga indicated that the Draft Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area should be ready by the end of this month together with three protocols, namely the Protocol on Trade in Services, the Protocol on Trade in Goods and the Protocol on Dispute Settlement Mechanism.

According to the AU, the Protocol on Trade in Services will have two Annexes, namely, Schedules of Commitments and Regulatory Frameworks.
-0- PANA AO/MA 7Nov2017


The 8th Meeting of the Continental Free Trade Area Negotiating Forum (CFTA-NF) will kick off from 20 – 25 November, 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria to undertake negotiations on the text of the Agreement Establishing the CFTA, undertake negotiations on the Protocols on Trade in Goods, complete negotiations on the Protocol on Trade in Services, and conclude work on several Annexes

07 november 2017 16:20:28

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