Mr Francis Anatogu, Secretary, National Action Committee on implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) says AfCFTA is capable of driving industrialisation in Nigeria.
Anatog said on Friday in Abuja that it could be achieved through economics of scale, specialisation and regional supply and value chains development.
According to him, AfCFTA seeks to drive sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development of the continent through a single market for made-in Africa goods and services facilitated by free movement of persons.
He said that eliminating tariffs on 90 per cent of tariff lines, and with product specific rules of origin would help in actualising desired results.
He added that through customs co-operation, harmonisation of standards and tracking of non-tariff barriers, the agreement would facilitate more trade transactions while reducing cost.
“By harmonising policies and regulations, AfCFTA will grow intra-Africa trade in services.
“It will also promote rules-based trade through cooperation on investment, intellectual property rights, competition policy and digital economy.
“It is estimated that reduction in tariffs, and the dismantling of non-tariff barriers, particularly at borders will unlock about 450 billion dollars in income gains to the continent,” he said.
He said that 292 billion dollars will come from simplifying border procedures and facilitating the free movement of goods and persons across the continent.
“The Rules of Origin protocols are designed to ensure that companies operating within the trade area are incentivised.
“That will help them build out and exploit the opportunity of regional value and supply chains to connect suppliers to markets across borders.
“It is also remarkable that the AfCFTA is progressing despite increasing uncertainty arising from recent trade wars and consequent protectionist trade policies,” he said.
According to Anatogu, AfCFTA provides additional incentive for foreign companies in labour incentive industries to relocate their production centers to Africa.
He said that this was due to growing regionalisation and diversification of supply chains that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic,
“Although official commencement date of trading under the AfCFTA was January 1, 2021, no trade has yet taken place under the AfCFTA regime,” he said.
He added that this was primarily due to delays in the conclusion of negotiations on rules of origin and trade in services.
Anatogu said that as at end of April , 54 African countries had signed the AfCFTA agreement, while forty-three countries had ratified it.
“As at May 31, rules of origin have been concluded on 88 per cent of tariff lines.
“The outstandings are rules of origin for automobiles, textile and apparels, fisheries, sugar and tobacco.
“We are also discussing how to treat goods produced within free trade zones and special economic zones,” he said.
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