EABC UPDATE ON 1ST PRIVATE SECTOR DIALOGUE ON THE TRIPARTITE FREE TRADE AREA RULES OF ORIGIN
East African Business Council (EABC) together with The COMESA Business Councils (CBC) and the Association of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCCI) on 28th January 2016 convened at Hotel Villa Portofino in Kigali, Rwanda for the inaugural Tripartite Regional Dialogue to ensure inclusive participation of the private sector in the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) negotiation.
The Dialogue was held under the theme: “Harmonizing and developing a private sector position on TFTA Rules of Origin for Increased Market Access”.
The first COMESA-EAC-SADC Free Trade Area, commonly known as the Tripartite FTA was launched in June 2015 by the Heads of State of COMESA, the EAC and SADC. Based on the theme, “Harmonizing and developing a private sector position on TFTA Rules of Origin (RoO)”, the dialogue sort to address concerns relating to the different industrial capacities in the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and different ROO regimes. The FTA covers 26 member countries in Southern and Eastern Africa with a consumer base of approximately 625 million customers.
The private sector have consistently been advocating for the restructuring of the TFTA in various forums and during the inaugural Tripartite Regional Dialogue, the following Key recommendations in the attached report were indicated for submission to the TTNF: