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Thursday, 21 January 2016

COMESA appreciates Tripartite FTA progress

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Council of Ministers has appreciated the progress made so far in the negotiating process that include finalising the outstanding work in Phase 1 of the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement (TFTA). His Majesty King Mswati III signed the TFTA agreement on June 15, 2015, five days after the official launch by heads of state and government in Sharm El Sheikh Egypt on June 10, 2015. In its 35th meeting held in Lusaka, Zambia in December 2015, the council appreciated the progress made in the negotiations process which included finalising the outstanding work in Phase I relating to rules of origin, elimination of import duties and trade remedies. According to a progress report presented to the council, a draft tripartite agreement had been developed and more work on this track was set to continue in phase II negotiations. “Negotiations continue in parallel to Phase II negotiations covering trade in services, competition policy, intellectual property rights and other trade related issues,” reads the report. The council also noted that seven out of the 10 annexes that contained issues under negotiations were finalised. The outstanding issues were tariff elimination schedules (annex I), trade remedies (annex II) and rules of origin (annex IV).