President Kagame and Chairperson of the East African Community (EAC) has said that after signing African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the next step is to finalise the remaining negotiations.
Kagame remarked while speaking at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union on Sunday in Niamey capital of Niger where he joined other Heads of State and Government from across the continent to launch the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“History will record the central role played by the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, in bringing us to this point. Our task now is to finalise the remaining negotiations and operational instruments in a timely manner,” he said.
Also discussed at the summit were key issues including the removal of non-tariff barriers and regulations controlling trade liberalization, rules of origin and the development of a digital payment system.
Meanwhile, the agreement will officially go into force in July 2020.
Member states have time to adopt the framework and prepare their business communities for the emerging market.
Albert Muchanga, the African Union’s commissioner for trade and industry, said they haven’t yet agreed on rules of origin and tariff confessions, but the framework they have is enough to start trading on July 1, 2020.
The free trade agreements are designed to cut trade tariffs between member countries.
Tariffs are a form of tax, like a border tax.
They are placed on goods coming into a country for a range of reasons, sometimes to try and protect a home-made product.
The free trade agreement (FTA) removes all border taxes or trade barriers on goods.
FTAs also help make a country’s exports cheaper and give easier entry to other markets.