Johannesburg, 29 October 2013 (ECA) - Recent developments show that Africa’s political leaders have taken bold steps to strengthen and promote production and competitiveness, with the result that regional integration is seeing increasing momentum. Yet, according to the new edition of Assessing Regional Integration in Africa on the theme, 'Harmonizing Policies to Transform the Trading Environment,' the need to remove trade barriers and harmonize policies remains a key challenge.
This sixth, 2012 edition of ARIA recommends seven guiding principles that member States can employ to navigate the complexities surrounding harmonization of rules of origin and trade facilitation instruments for the Continental Free Trade Area. It underscores that these steps are needed to boost intraregional trade, lessen Africa’s heavy external dependence and enhance its resilience to global shocks.
Jointly published by the Economic Commission for Africa, African Union Commission and African Development Bank, ARIA VI carries forward the momentum of the January 2012’s Decision and Declaration of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government on boosting intra-African trade and fast-tracking the establishment of a Continental Free trade Area by 2017.
The authors note that while countries have achieved some milestones on the path towards integration, such as the formation of the Tripartite among the members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community, “the road to completely dismantling barriers to trade is strewn with obstacles and requires a thorough understanding of regional integration and trade policies.”
“Harmonized rules of origin and trade facilitation environment across the continent would greatly improve the means and cost of doing business across borders,” states the jointly penned forward by the three heads of ECA, AUC and AfDB - Mr. Carlos Lopes, Madame Nkosazana Dlaimin-Zuma and Mr. Donald Kaberuka.
Since 2004, the three institutions have co-produced one in-depth overall regional integration assessment and four subsequent editions focusing on emerging key themes. These include, the rationalization of regional economic communities and their overlapping memberships; macroeconomic policy convergence and monetary and financial integration in the regional economic communities. In the last two editions, efforts were made to strengthen the case for enhancing intra-African trade as well as evidence-based research to support the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area.
ARIA VI will be launched this week in Johannesburg during the ongoing African Economic Conference 2013 holding on Regional Integration. The conference is jointly organized by the African Development Bank, Economic Commission for Africa and United Nations Development Programme.
Note to Editors:
Rules of origin are used to determine the country of origin, i.e. economic nationality of a product of r purposes of international trade. Establishing the country of origin of a product is a fundamental requirement in trade policy formulation and in integral part of preferential trade agreements including Free Trade Areas. Countries can apply their trade Policy measures (e.g. duty free privileges, quotas, tariffs and antidumping duties on products from certain countries) effectively only if they can determine the origin of goods being imported. There are two common types of rules of origin – preferential and non-preferential