By Shaimaa Elise and Nehal Mounir
The completion of the Free Trade Area (FTA) procedures among the three African blocs, SADC, COMESA and the East African Community (EAC), depends on the unification of the rules of origin and tariff, according to Egypt’s Minister of Industry and Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour.
This should be followed by the approval of the parliaments of participating countries on the proposal of the FTA and its rules, he added.
During the second session of the three economic blocs summit in Sharm El-Sheikh Monday, Abdel Nour said that the three African blocs population includes about 625 million people, and has a trade volume of about $1.2tn.
“The Sharm El-Sheikh Agreement on merging the three main economic blocs would expand trade exchange, increase competition and integrate the economies of the blocs’ countries,” Abdel Nour said.
“In addition, it will strengthen their positions within the international centres, encouraging industrialisation, increasing mineral resources, increasing their export capacity and opening new business opportunities,“ he added.
On the sideline of the conference, head of trade agreements at the Egyptian Ministry of industry Saeed Abdallah said the ministry targets increasing exports to African countries over the next five years to $200bn, compared to $143bn last year.
Abdallah added that the success of launching the FTA depends on unification of the rules of origin and tariffs, in preparation for establishing an African Customs Union.