PRETORIA, South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has left for Uganda to attend the Tripartite Committee of Sectoral Ministers meeting in Kampala Friday.

The meeting will give the Ministers from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), and Southern African Development Community (SADC) an opportunity to get an update on the progress achieved in the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) negotiations.

The TFTA consists of 26 member states of the African Union. The TFTA marks an important step in promoting regional integration in Africa and is a building block for the Continental Free Trade Area. The meeting is expected to consider the remaining annexes, thus marking the conclusion of the legal framework for trade in goods, according to the South African Department of Trade and Industry.

This will facilitate the signature of the agreement by all member states. Negotiations on tariffs, rules of origin and Phase II will continue as part of the built-in agenda.

According to Davies, considerable progress has been achieved in tariff negotiations between the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the EAC and Egypt. It is expected that SACU and the EAC will conclude the tariff negotiations in the near future.

Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe will launch the multi-million black industrial company, Microfinish Automotive, in Pinetown, in KwaZulu-Natal Province, on Friday.

Microfinish, which is an automotive valve guide and valve seat manufacturer, was approved for grant funding from the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) Black Industrialist Scheme (BIS) for 13.5 million Rand (about 1.0 million US dollars).

The BIS is a grant programme of the Black Industrialists Policy that aims to unlock the potential within black industrialists operating in the South African economy through deliberate, targeted and well-defined financial and non-financial interventions.


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