Traders and manufacturers in Africa will soon access an expanded market of over one billion people, following the launch of a mega trade deal expected in March.
The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreement to be launched by heads of state in Kigali, comes amid fears that trade liberalization could lead to a loss of tariff revenue for smaller economies. Read more. Source | East African
Director-General Roberto Azevêdo has issued a call for action to help close the gaps in the availability of trade finance that affect the trade prospects of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly in Africa and Asia.
SMEs in developing countries face the greatest challenges in accessing trade finance and there are some very large gaps in provision. The estimated value of unmet demand for trade finance in Africa is US$ 120 billion (one-third of the continent’s trade finance market) and US$ 700 billion in developing Asia. Bridging these gaps would unlock the trading potential of many thousands of individuals and small businesses around the world. Read more. Source | World Trade Organization
The U.S.-EAC Cooperation Agreement on Trade Facilitation, SPS, and TBT commits both the EAC and the United States to three objectives:
IMPLEMENT THE WTO’s TRADE FACILITATION AGREEMENT
- The Agreement commits the parties to cooperate on customs issues, including the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, reducing red tape and unnecessary formalities at borders decreasing border release times, and implementing other positive reforms laid out in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement to help streamline and facilitate trade. This will build on the EAC’s own work on customs reforms, which have resulted in substantial reductions in the time and costs of moving goods across borders within the EAC. For instance, container transit times from Mombasa, Kenya, to Kigali, Rwanda have declined from 21 days several years ago to six days, while associated transport costs are down by over $1,700 per container.