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Regional blocs discuss Free Trade Area

06 November 2015, 17:02

Abuja - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union Commission (AUC) have consulted on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and on the action plan for boosting intra-African trade.

The two-day meeting day has concluded in Abuja.

The Objectives were to facilitate consultations and dialogue among ECOWAS Member States on the CFTA with a view to developing regional strategies for engagement in the CFTA negotiations and to identify areas for capacity building at the national and regional levels with the support of African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and other partners such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Also read: Insecurity slowing regional economic growth

AU Director of the Department of Trade and Industry, Treasure Maphanga, pointed out that by agreeing to negotiate a comprehensive and mutually beneficial free trade agreement, regional leaders signalled to the world Africa was ready for business.

She indicated that simply reducing tariffs and removing other barriers to trade may not necessarily lead to increased intra-African trade.

“We must do more in terms of developing the productive capacities of our economies, implement trade facilitation measures, develop our infrastructure, and ensure reliable energy supply and skills availability,” said Maphanga.

A representative from the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ben Iyeh, underscored that regional integration helps develop larger markets, foster competition and improve policy stance in many areas of development agenda.

He said Nigeria had already settled the necessary national structures in order to be fully engaged in the upcoming CFTA negotiations.

A free-trade area involves cooperation between at least two countries to reduce trade barriers—import quotas and tariffs— and to increase trade of goods and services with each other.

- CAJ News


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