Customs experts reflect on rules of origins in the effort to establish the Continental Free Trade Area
The first African Union consultative meeting on Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Rules of Origin kicked off today in the Senegalese capital. Convened at the initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission, the meeting was co-organized with the Customs Directorate of Senegal.
Within two days, participants, for the most part, delegates of Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) will reflect on the need to implement action plans to promote and strengthen Intra-African Trade in an effort to create the African Common Market. Customs experts will make concrete proposals to be submitted first to the Directors Generals and later on to the trade ministers for them to make decisions on rules of origin.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Jean-Nöel FRANÇOIS, Head of Delegation of the Department of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission welcomed the consultative meeting as one of the pillars of the development of the Continental Free Trade Area through the Continental Rules of origin. “Africa is increasingly recognized as the next growth pole. It belongs to our countries to seize the opportunity of this favorable situation so that we can regain our rightful place in international trade, “he reiterated.
Taking the floor, Mr. Guidado SOW, Director of Regulation and International Cooperation of Senegal, expressed his gratitude to the African Union Commission for the nomination of his country to host the consultative meeting on rules of origin. He also explained that the rules of origin are used to determine the original country of origin of goods in the international trade field. To this end, the fact of establishing a geographical link between goods in a given country where they are actually made, can establish good trade policy in the context of preferential trade agreements, including those from free exchange areas. “I remain convinced that African states can apply their trade policy measures only if they are able to determine the origin of imported products,” he stressed. He then invited the participants to open debate on all issues on the agenda in order to provide a framework for rules of origin to facilitate the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area.
This meeting is conducted in line with the recommendations contained in the report of the 5th Ordinary Meeting of the Subcommittee of Customs Directors General of the African Union, held 12 – 13 September 2013 in Cotonou under the theme: “Towards a trade facilitation Strategy for the Continental Free Trade Area”.