The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, in force since January 1st of the current year, foresees the reinforcement of the socio-economic development and diversification of the industry in Africa.
The more than 50 countries member of the African Union (AU) have agreed to create a liberalized market for trade in goods, with the facilitation of the movement of people, in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent, according to a Pan-African Vision.
The opening of trade, according to the AfCFTA Agreement, is expected to establish the bases for the creation of a continental Customs Union at a later stage.
Africa still wants, with this agreement, to strengthen the competitiveness of the economies of the states that are part of the continental and world market.
The agreement that creates the AfCFTA also provides as advantages, the progressive elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods, the liberalization of trade in services, cooperation in customs domains and the implementation of trade facilitation measures, among others.
The AfCFTA Agreement covers trade in services, investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy, which will affect more than 1.3 billion consumers.
With this initiative, Member States are determined to take the necessary measures to reduce the cost of economic activities and create an environment favourable to the development of the private sector, thus promoting intra-African trade.
Favourable treatment for similar products
With regard to national treatment, states must give products imported from other member states a treatment no less favourable than that accorded to similar products of national origin, after they have been cleared through customs.
This treatment, according to the agreement, covers all measures that affect the sale and conditions of sale of these products, in accordance with Article III of the GATT- General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994.
In order to ensure a more comprehensive and mutually advantageous trade in goods, Member States must demonstrate, along this path, flexibility towards other States Parties at various levels of economic development or who have their own specificities and are recognized as such by others.
Such flexibilities include, among others, a special consideration and an additional transition period in the implementation of this diploma.
The Agreement also refers, in the case of import duties, to its progressive elimination or charges having equivalent effect on products originating in the territory of a State Party, based on its list of tariff concessions contained in the Annex to the same Protocol.
The Agreement contains protocols on trade in services, on rules and procedures for resolving disputes and on trade in goods.
Free trade, under the Agreement, started on January 1, 2021, but Angola, taking into account some procedures that need to be reviewed with the greatest care, will probably only be able to access it in the middle of the year.
At the 13th Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, held by videoconference, last December 6, where the evaluation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement was made, the President of the Republic, João Lourenço, reinforced Angola’s commitment to the AfCFTA, pointing out the country’s commitment to negotiating the Agreement, which created the Zone.
The country signed the instrument on 21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, during the 10th Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.