South Africa has said it has a lot of homework to do to in finalising its tariff schedule African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
AfCFTA is expected to reshape the economy.
The Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel reported at the12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU), which was held on 7 – 8 July 2019.
The AfCFTA was officially launched into its implementation phase at a Special AU Summit in Niamey, Niger, after 54 African countries signed the agreement and 27 countries ratified it.
Trading under the terms of the AfCFTA is intended to come into effect on 1 July 2020.
Patel said the initiative will connect 1.2 billion people into a single bloc where products will be manufactured, bought and sold between countries, without any trade tariffs.
For South Africa’s current administration, a lot more work still needs to be done to finalise the detailed modalities and benefits of the AfCFTA.
“We will finalise a tariff schedule immediately listing all products covered by the AfCFTA and the rules of origin that set out what qualifies as a locally-manufactured article.”
Patel said the agreement will change and reshape the South African economy.
“The agreement will fundamentally change and reshape the South African economy. Already, exports to other African countries support about 250 000 South African jobs and it is the fastest growing part of our manufactured exports,” said the Minister on Sunday.
Patel said over the period of the current administration, agreement on the following will be developed:
– Services that will be traded free of duties within the AfCFTA;
– Investment protections for African companies operating in each other’s markets;
– Competition policy on the continent, and
– Trade-related intellectual property rules.
Patel said the coming into effect of the AfCFTA is a historic mission not without its own challenges.