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Trade News

Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.


26 African Nations Formally Launch Talks on Combined Free Trade Area

Thursday, June 23, 2011 > 09:40:48

The 26 member nations of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community met in South Africa June 10 to formally launch negotiations on a combined free trade agreement. The so-called Tripartite Free Trade Area, which is expected to be completed within three years, will encompass a region stretching from Cairo to Cape Town that accounts for more than 500 million people and a total gross domestic product nearing $1 trillion.

The TFTA aims to increase intra-African trade flows, which accounts for only about 10% of total trade among sub-Saharan African countries, and boost the region’s attractiveness to global investors. However, press reports indicate that there are a number of additional obstacles that will have to be overcome to make those goals a reality. These include improving a transportation infrastructure that is in generally poor repair and geared more toward exporting the continent’s rich reserves of raw materials than facilitating trade between countries. Other challenges include increasing the reliability of power supplies, reducing corruption and resolving the conflicts and turmoil occurring in countries such as Libya, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

On the other hand, the TFTA could further boost an African economy that is already growing at a healthy pace. Economic growth in the region has averaged 5.7% annually over the past decade, according to press articles, and six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are located in Africa. This growth has helped create a burgeoning middle class that companies around the world see as an important new market.



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