Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Short Course: Reading and Interpreting International Trade Agreements - AfCFTA and EAC


tralac Short Course: Reading and Interpreting International Trade Agreements - AfCFTA and EAC

tralac Short Course: Reading and Interpreting International Trade Agreements - AfCFTA and EAC

African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and East African Community (EAC)

Second intake

The course is designed to develop trade law capacity in the East African Community (EAC), within the community of trade lawyers of the East African Law Society, in Government Ministries and agencies, as well as in the private sector and in the in civil society organisations. tralac is pleased to be presenting the course in collaboration with the East African Law Society.

This Short Course will cover the following:

Reading and Interpreting International Trade Agreements: case studies of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the East African Community (EAC) Legal Instruments (including the Treaty establishing the East Africa Community, Protocol for the establishment of the EAC Customs Union, and the Protocol for the establishment of the EAC Common Market).

Module 1: 19-20 July 2021

The first module will be structured to accommodate participants without a background in public international law and international trade law. This module will cover basic principles and foundations of international trade law and situate the discussion in the context of Africa’s multilateral, continental and regional trade governance agenda.

Module 2: 29-30 July 2021

The second module will analyse i) the legal instruments of the AfCFTA and relate their content to continental integration policies and arrangements, including the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Dispute settlement issues will receive particular attention, and ii) the East African Community Treaty, the Customs Union Protocol and the Common Market Protocol.


Trade agreements are treaties of a specific kind; they regulate cross-border trade between two or more nations. These agreements establish trade-related rights and obligations for the State Parties. Unlike traditional trade agreements which cover trade in goods only, modern trade agreements cover a range of trade-related disciplines such as trade in services, dispute settlement, investment, intellectual property rights, competition policy, electronic commerce, trade and gender, sustainable development and public procurement, among others.

Trade agreements are, as a rule, not self-executing. They must be implemented through domestic measures taken by state organs in the State Parties. Customs administration is a typical example for trade in goods. National regulators perform the same domestic tasks in respect of trade in services.

While disputes about trade agreements have to be settled by the State Parties (private parties do not, as a rule, enjoy standing before international dispute settlement bodies), private parties and firms may approach domestic courts for judicial review and other public law remedies available under the law of the land. They may also, if provided for in the legal instruments of regional trade arrangements (such as the East African Community), enjoy standing before Regional Courts and Tribunals.

There are additional reasons for offering specialized courses dealing with the legal instruments underpinning trade and integration initiatives. In many ways the world has become a global marketplace. Multilateral and regional trade agreements are of growing importance but are specialized legal instruments with their own logic and terminology.

Candidates who have satisfactorily completed the course received a tralac Certificate of Completion.


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