AfCFTA: Trade in Africa will be freed from customs tariff & barriers

Trade in Africa will be completely free of customs tariff and barriers by 2026, in accordance with the African Union's agenda, spokesman for the General Directorate of Customs Haithem Zannad said Saturday in Tunis .

Speaking at an awareness-raising conference on the theme: "Speeding up the implementation of the AfCFTA: What is the role of customs," held at the Tunisian Customs headquarters, in collaboration with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the official said that Tunisia is among the first eight countries that have been selected to begin the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which will help investors conquer the African market.

This "historical" agreement will ease procedures for investment and trade between African countries, he pointed out, adding that Tunisia has various mechanisms that help it adapt to the African market.

The spokesman said in this regard, that the Tunisian experience can be "pilot" in Africa.

Zannad also recalled that the Directorate General of Customs is currently working, in collaboration with various stakeholders, to facilitate export and import procedures on the African market, notably through the introduction of rules of origin aimed at reducing taxes and customs tariffs.

Taking the floor, Director of Economic and Commercial Cooperation at the Ministry of Trade and Export Development Lazhar Bennour pointed out that Tunisia is currently in the phase of "effective" implementation of the AfCFTA, which will help it export and import to and from African countries.

Besides, he called on the private sector to join this agreement, underlining the need to make the most of the new global orientation of privileging trade relations that serve the sustainable development goals.

The national strategy for the implementation of the AfCFTA was presented at this forum.

It was devised by the Ministry of Trade and Export Development in collaboration with the General Directorate of Customs and with the support of GIZ.

This strategy seeks to ensure that Tunisia can seize the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area and consolidate the country's regional integration.

The AfCFTA entered into force in May 2019. It was ratified by Tunisia on August 7, 2020. It is one of the flagship projects of the African Union (AU).

It aims to boost South-South cooperation for an "integrated, prosperous and peaceful" Africa in line with the AU's Agenda 2063 and to consolidate trade relations between the Union's 55 member States in a market totalling more than 300 million consumers and $3,400 billion in annual trade.

The agreement aims to remove customs barriers to the free movement of goods and services between African countries.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse