Building capacity to help Africa trade better


The Institutional Implications of Article 19 of the AfCFTA – where do the Regional Economic Communities fit in?

13 Sep 2019 ~
Article 19(2) of the AfCFTA Agreement provides that “State Parties that are members of other regional economic communities, regional trading arrangements and custom unions, which have at...read more

The SACU Institutions that never were

13 Sep 2019 ~
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is a customs union (CU) and is in operation since 1910. It has a single customs territory and a Common External Tariff (CET). SACU is also an Inte...read more

What is happening to the WTO?

13 Sep 2019 ~
Freedom of trade and equal market access were central to the plans for reconstructing the post World War II international order. International peace had to be secured through, amongst othe...read more

The Institutional Arrangements of the Tripartite Free Trade Area

13 Sep 2019 ~
To a large extent, the launch of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) in June 2015 ushered in a new institutional approach towards intra-African trade and integration.[1] ...read more

AGOA Forum 2019: Reflections and new developments

12 Sep 2019 ~ Eckart Naumann
The 2019 AGOA Forum took place early August in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, under the banner of “AGOA and the Future: Developing a new trade paradigm to guide US-Africa trade and investmen...read more

An update on the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement by African countries as of July 2019

01 Aug 2019 ~ Talkmore Chidede
This blog provides an update of the ratification and implementation status of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) by African countries as of July 2019.[1]...read more

Leveraging the Trade Information Dividend for Africa

01 Aug 2019 ~ John Stuart
In the world of economics and trade, information is key. Economists refer to the ‘making’ of markets, which means the way in which market players come together to create a market for a...read more

tralac’s Message on Mandela Day 2019: Good Governance and the State

18 Jul 2019 ~ Trudi Hartzenberg, Gerhard Erasmus
Mandela Day serves to remind and inspire us to strive for social justice. This is the complex and multi-faceted challenge to adopt policies and strategies for addressing poverty and inequa...read more

Does the African Continental Free Trade Area mean business?

12 Jul 2019 ~ Trudi Hartzenberg, Gerhard Erasmus
When a large number of sovereign states launch an ambitious new free trade project and conclude binding treaties to signal their resolve, we should pay attention. If these are African stat...read more

Another Ruling against the Dismantling of the SADC Tribunal

11 Jul 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
In December 2018, the South African Constitutional Court ruled that the participation of the South African President in the decision to abolish the Southern African Development Community (...read more

Dispute Settlement in the African Continental Free Trade Area

11 Jul 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
When national Parliaments received reports from the Executive about the outcomes of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) negotiations and why this Agreement should be ratified,...read more

What does the National Security Exception in GATT mean?

11 Jul 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The World Trade Organization (WTO) regime is rules-based. One of the implications is that the Member States can only invoke exceptions that are expressly provided for; national measures ba...read more

When is a levy not a tax? A guideline from Namibia

11 Jul 2019 ~ Dawid van Wyk
In the electronic communications industry the stakes are high. It is a lucrative world, complex and indispensable. If unregulated, things could easily get out of hand. Since it knows few b...read more

An important Comesa Court qualifier for natural and legal persons approaching the Court

11 Jul 2019 ~ Dawid van Wyk
The Treaty that underpins the 27-member Community of Eastern and Southern African States (Comesa) contains an appealing provision for ordinary persons, natural or legal, who are involved i...read more

Huawei: Trade War is escalating into a Tech War

11 Jun 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The inter-connected nature (and vulnerability) of the global trading system was dramatically demonstrated with the announcement on 15 May 2019 by the US Commerce Department that companies ...read more

What is still required for a complete AfCFTA Deal?

17 May 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) Agreement promises an ambitious new continent-wide trade arrangement for Africa. The Preamble says there will be “clear, transparent, predicta...read more

What happens to the RECs once the AfCFTA is in force?

17 May 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Regional integration has been a prominent feature of inter-state cooperation in Africa for a long time. It is pursued for solidarity, historical, political and economic reasons. In additio...read more

The AfCFTA: What enters into force now and what does it mean?

17 May 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
On 29 April 2019, Sierra Leone and the Saharawi Republic deposited their instruments of ratification of the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This br...read more

Rules of origin, tariffs and the AfCFTA

17 May 2019 ~ Willemien Viljoen
Article XXIV of the GATT requires that ‘duties and other restrictive regulations’ on ‘substantially all trade in products originating in such territories’ of the contracting partie...read more

AfCFTA: What next for services trade?

17 May 2019 ~ Ashly Hope (Volunteer)
Now that the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has a firm date for entry into force, we must turn our minds to the operational phase of the AfCFTA. In...read more

How can the AfCFTA Investment Protocol advance the realisation of the AfCFTA objectives?

17 May 2019 ~ Talkmore Chidede
The AfCFTA Agreement will include a protocol on investment – to be negotiated in phase II. Meanwhile, the technical issues on investment are under consideration, and the draft legal text...read more

The proposed AfCFTA Protocol on Intellectual Property Rights

17 May 2019 ~ Abrie du Plessis
The AfCFTA Protocol on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) will be negotiated during Phase II. The draft legal text has to be submitted to the January 2021 Session of the AU Assembly for ad...read more

The proposed AfCFTA online non-tariff barrier reporting, monitoring and eliminating mechanism

17 May 2019 ~ Vonesai Hove
How will it work? What are stakeholders expecting from this mechanism? The AFCFTA enters into force on 30th May 2019 with high expectations from the continental stakeholders particularly ...read more

Cooperation on competition in the AfCFTA

17 May 2019 ~ Trudi Hartzenberg
Competition law is an essential component of market and, overall economic governance. Its aim is to promote competition, to enhance market outcomes for consumers and firms. Deeper integrat...read more

The Brexit Saga is far from over

07 May 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Brexit has become a political and constitutional fiasco. It may also have dire consequences for business. Firms must deal with lingering uncertainty and the possibility of forfeiting the b...read more

President Ramaphosa’s 2019 State of the Nation Address

01 Mar 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
A State of the Nation Address (SONA) is not like a formal contract, especially not in an election year. It cannot be “enforced”. But the one delivered by President Ramaphosa on 7 Febru...read more

How will South Africa engage the Region, the Continent and the World?

01 Mar 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
In the African context, South Africa is a trading nation. What does the State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019 say about South Africa’s trade policy? President Ramaphosa emphasised the ...read more

Good Governance is vital… but is easier said than done once the State has been captured

01 Mar 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Those who observe South Africa from afar are often puzzled by the fact that despite all the evidence, not a single person has yet been prosecuted and convicted for a crime associated with ...read more

The Energy Crisis: How will Investors look at South Africa now?

01 Mar 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
South Africa has traditionally been associated with Africa’s best infrastructure, giving it an obvious advantage in terms of attracting investment and boosting further industrialization....read more

How Can Blockchain Support Intra-African Trade?

21 Feb 2019 ~ John Stuart
‘Blockchain’ – or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) – is a technology whereby a ledger of transactions, or other form or record, is maintained electronically by being distributed...read more


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