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2023.01.09 by 由布茶寮

Free Trade Agreement African Union

The African Union (AU) has been discussing the possibility of implementing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for several years now, with the initial discussions dating back to the 1980s. However, progress towards the creation of an FTA for Africa has been slow, with many challenges and obstacles along the way. Nevertheless, the AU is now more determined than ever to establish a comprehensive FTA that will benefit all African nations.

The rationale behind an FTA for Africa is clear: the continent needs to increase its trade with itself and the rest of the world in order to achieve sustainable economic growth and development. At present, Africa`s share of global trade is only 3%, despite the fact that it is the second-largest continent in terms of population and resources. Additionally, intra-African trade is only 16% of the continent`s total trade, which is considerably lower than other regional blocs like the European Union (60%) and Asia (50%).

An FTA for Africa would eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers between African countries, making it easier and cheaper for them to trade with each other. This would increase trade volumes, promote greater economic integration, and stimulate competition among African economies. It would also create a larger market for African businesses, allowing them to expand and grow more easily.

An FTA for Africa would also open up new opportunities for trade with other regions of the world. Several countries and regions, such as China, India, and the European Union, have expressed interest in signing trade deals with Africa. However, many of these deals are currently negotiated on a bilateral basis, which is time-consuming and often results in unequal trade agreements. By negotiating as a bloc, African countries would have more bargaining power and be able to secure better trade deals with their international partners.

Of course, creating an FTA for Africa is not without its challenges. One of the main obstacles is the lack of infrastructure and connectivity between African countries. Many countries in Africa have poor road, rail, and air links, which makes it difficult to transport goods across borders. Additionally, customs procedures and regulations vary widely across African countries, which can slow down the movement of goods and increase costs.

Another challenge is the disparity in development levels between African countries. Some countries are more developed and have larger economies than others, which could lead to unequal benefits from an FTA. To address this issue, the AU has proposed a phased approach to implementing the FTA, with different levels of integration for different countries depending on their economic development.

Despite these challenges, the AU is committed to creating an FTA for Africa that will benefit all African nations. The AU is working on a framework agreement for the FTA, which is expected to be signed in 2021. This will be followed by negotiations on specific issues such as tariffs, rules of origin, and trade facilitation.

In conclusion, an FTA for Africa has the potential to transform the continent`s economy and increase its global competitiveness. It will promote greater economic integration, stimulate competition, and create new opportunities for trade with the rest of the world. While there are many challenges to overcome, the AU`s determination and commitment to the FTA bodes well for the future of Africa`s trade relations.

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