The spectre of trade wars has Africa worried and the continent is now coming up with ways to fast-track its agreements in an effort to protect itself.
In a statement, African Union commissioner for trade and industry, Albert Muchanga, said there were emerging risks in the international trade environment, which were characterised by trade wars and the continent needed to protect itself.
“Fast-tracking the coming into force of the legal instruments establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area and its resultant operation can mitigate the adverse impacts of the trade war if it occurs,” he said. “Africa is innocent in this looming trade war, but we can still be its victims. Let us all remember that innocent victims are part of the sad history of humankind.”
The looming trade war started after a hike in tariffs by the United States on products from the European Union, Mexico, Canada and China, with those nations threatening retaliation.
Muchanga urged trade ministers to work closely with their finance and development planning counterparts in promoting alignment of macroeconomic stability and adherence to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agenda.
The statement followed the sixth meeting of African Ministers of Trade (Amot), to deliberate on the implementation modalities of AfCFTA, in Dakar, Senegal on Sunday and and Monday, which Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development minister Mike Bimha attended.
African trade ministers deliberated on the protocols to the agreement establishing AfCFTA and the modalities for tariff liberalisation.
This included the completion of the remaining tasks of the phase one negotiations and starting phase two negotiations centred on investment, competition policy and intellectual property rights and possibly e-commerce.
Earlier this year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa signed AfCFTA in Kigali, Rwanda.
The next Amot meeting will be held in Cairo, Egypt, in December 2018, simultaneously with the Intra-Africa Trade Fair.–newsday.co.zw