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Business News of Saturday, 23 January 2021

Source: Fuaad Dodoo, Contributor

Goods from non-African countries not to enjoy AfCFTA preferential treatment

Mene Wamkele, AfCFTA Secretary-General Mene Wamkele, AfCFTA Secretary-General

Goods exports by third-party non-African countries to African countries will not enjoy preferential treatments stipulated under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) trade pact.

This is according to the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene.

Addressing the issue of transshipment during the operation of AfCFTA, Mr Mene noted that although goods from non-African countries are welcomed into the continent, such goods or imports will not enjoy the incentives that bind the trade agreement between AfCFTA members.

“We are not saying there should be no goods from other countries, what we are saying is that goods that should enjoy the AfCFTA preferential treatment should be goods that are legitimately entitled to the AfCFTA preferential treatment,” he said.

“There will still be goods coming in from other parts of the world, but they will not be enjoying the preferential treatment that we have agreed to extend to ourselves as members of AfCFTA,” he added.

Speaking further, Mr Mene disclosed that no provision or protocol has yet been made to minimize the importation of goods from non-African countries during the implementation of AfCFTA.

He however believes that, despite the absence of such provision, a strong collaboration between Customs Officials of member countries will check goods transshipment on the continent during the operation of AfCFTA.

“This will depend on our robust application and implementation of our rules of origin regime and other necessary protocols. We will work with our Customs Officials to improve their capacity to check transshipment,” he stated.

Trading of goods between member countries per the rules of AfCFTA should attract zero duties with no limit on the quantity of goods that can be exported or imported between member countries.