Trade in Services under the AfCFTA and domestic Regulation


Trade in Services under the AfCFTA and domestic Regulation

Trade in Services under the AfCFTA and domestic Regulation

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Trade Briefs ~ Gerhard Erasmus

When the Protocol on Trade in Services of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) enters into force (which is expected to happen in the not too distant future), an important milestone will be achieved. It will expand the African integration agenda beyond trade in goods. Trade in services (when local and foreign service providers sell an intangible product, a service, to consumers or producers) is vital for economic development generally and boosting intra-African trade. But there will be new governance challenges too.

The AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Services will introduce new legal disciplines, and the regulatory contexts will be quite different from those applicable to trade in goods. Services are intangible and cannot be regulated by imposing tariffs. Permits are often an important aspect of regulating competition in services sectors.

These developments will require national governance regimes (laws and institutions) equipped to implement the disciplines associated with regulating trade in services, and to provide for the legal remedies provided for under this Protocol. This Trade Brief discusses some of them.

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