Since 2008, there has been talk of a merger of comesa member states, the five-member East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC, 14 members). In 2011, the leaders of the 26 African countries within these three existing regional economic communities announced that they would negotiate a tripartite free trade area that would cover more than 600 million people and, according to estimates, $1 trillion in trade. In June 2011, in Johannesburg, at the second Comesa-EAC-Sadc summit, governments adopted the negotiating principles, the modalities of negotiation and a roadmap for the negotiation of such an agreement. The first round of negotiations took place in Nairobi in December 2011 and the “Tripartite Free Trade Area” or #TFTA was finally signed in June 2015. It must now be ratified by the parliaments of the various Member States to enter into force. Members appeared to unanimously support South Africa`s ratification of the TFTA agreement. MEPs felt, however, that trade agreements sometimes looked better on paper than they really were. It was about the usefulness of a trade agreement for the normal person living in poverty. Members were somewhat concerned that only two member states had ratified the NAFTA agreement and wondered how this dilemma would be resolved. The texts of the FREE TRADE AGREEMENT are here: www.tralac.org/resources/by-region/comesa-eac-sadc-tripartite-fta.html. Briefing from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (DTI) Mr. Wamkele Mene, Director General of DTI: African Economic Relations, said that the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) was launched in June 2015. Negotiations on the TFTA agreement were concluded in May 2017.
SA signed the TFTA agreement by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, in July 2017. Of the 26 Member States, 22 have signed the TFTA agreement. NAFTA would enter into force as soon as it has been ratified by 14 member states. To date, only two Member States, Egypt and Uganda, have ratified the TFTA agreement. ALER was based on a development integration programme combining market integration, industrial development and infrastructure development. The TFTA agreement would facilitate, inter alia, the harmonisation of Member States` trade regimes and allow the free movement of entrepreneurs for limited periods. The request for ratification concerned only the trade liberalisation element of the TFTA agreement. . . .
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