Conference of the African Union Ministers of Trade (AMOT) on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA)
The African Union Commission (AUC) Department of Trade and Industry, in collaboration with the Government of Niger, is organising a Conference of the African Union Ministers of Trade (AMOT) on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) from 5 to 16 June 2017 in Niamey, Niger.
According to the work plan of the CFTA negotiating institutions approved by Ministers of Trade in November 2016, the AUC Department of Trade and Industry has organised the 6th Meeting of the CFTA-Negotiating Forum to be conducted on 5-10 June 2017. This meeting will be immediately followed by the 3rd meeting of Senior Trade Officials (STO) and African Ministers of Trade (AMOT) on 12-14 and 15-16 June 2017, respectively.
The objective of the 6th CFTA-Negotiating Forum is to conclude the draft Modalities for Tariff Liberalization and Trade in Services negotiations, consider the draft Texts of the CFTA Agreement and receive the reports from the second meeting of Technical Working Groups. The meeting will commence with sessions on presentations on, among others, Trade Mapping and the Trade Analysis Tool.
The objectives of the 3rd Meeting of the Senior Trade Officials will be to consider the outcomes of the 5th and 6th Meetings of the CFTA Negotiating Forum, as well as the Progress Report on AGOA, the Report of the Fourth EPA Coordination Meeting and the Draft Common Position on EPA for the Africa-EU Summit, and the Progress Report on WTO MC11 Preparations, while the 3rd Meeting of African Ministers of Trade will consider the outcomes of the 3rd Meeting of Senior Trade Officials.
The 25th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2015 launched the negotiations for the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). The launch of the negotiations marked a major milestone in the implementation of the Summit Decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area by 2017. The main objective of the CFTA negotiations is to achieve a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement among the Member States of the African Union.
The inaugural session of the CFTA Negotiating Forum was held in February 2016. The CFTA-NF has since established Technical Working Groups (TWGs), which will support the negotiations. The meetings of the TWGs have already commenced and one of the assignments which they are undertaking is the development of the draft CFTA texts. The first and second meetings of the TWG took place from 6 to 17 February 2017 and from 24th April to 5th May 2017 respectively.
The Meeting of the African Union Ministers of Trade held on 29th – 30th November 2016, considered, amongst others, the draft Modalities for the CFTA Tariff Liberalization and Trade in Services negotiations. The meeting requested for an analysis and diagnostic study of the impact of the four options of the Modalities on Tariff Liberalization on the economies of Member States. The analysis was to include mapping of intra African trade flows focusing on direction and volume of trade. In addition, the different options have to be analysed vis-à-vis their compatibility with the Guiding Principles on CFTA Negotiations. It was directed that the analysis be conducted in collaboration with UNCTAD, UNECA and the RECs. The 5th CFTA-NF did not conclude the draft Modalities for Tariff Liberalization and Trade in Services negotiations.