16 May 2016

Africa: The 2nd Meeting of the Continental Free Trade Area Negotiating Forum (CFTA-NF)

press release

THE 2nd MEETING OF THE CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AREA NEGOTIATING FORUM (CFTA-NF)

MEDIA ADVISORY

THE 2nd MEETING OF THE CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AREA NEGOTIATING FORUM (CFTA-NF)

INVITATION TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA

When: Monday 16 to Tuesday 24 May 2016

Where: Medium Conference Hall, Caucus Room - AUC, Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia

Who: Organised by the Department of Trade and Industry

Format: The Second Meeting of the CFTA Negotiating Forum will be organized back to back with the Meeting of Senior Trade Officials and African Ministers of Trade. The meetings will be organized as follows:

16 - 20 May 2016: the 2nd meeting of the CFTA Negotiating Forum;

21 - 22 May 2016: Meeting of the Senior Trade Officials;

23 - 24 May 2016: Meeting of African Ministers of Trade.

Objective: The main objective of 2nd Meeting of the Continental Free Trade Area Negotiating Forum (CFTA-NF) is to consider all the post launch preparatory issues and essential process issues and technical documents that will enable the efficient conduct of the negotiations. The Meeting will specifically undertake the following:

i. Consider and adopt definitions of the Principles Guiding CFTA Negotiations;

ii. Consider Approaches and Modalities for CFTA Negotiations;

iii. Consider the Terms of References for various Technical Working Groups; and

iv. Consider the work plan for the CFTA Negotiations.

Participants: The meeting shall be in a closed session attended by Chief Trade Negotiators, Senior Trade Officials and Minister of Trade from all eligible Member States of the African Union. The meeting will also be attended by Trade Officials from the following RECs and institutions; AMU (Arab Maghreb Union), CEN-SAD, COMESA, EAC, ECCAS, ECOWAS, IGAD and SADC.

Background:

The First Meeting of the CFTA Negotiating Forum was held on 24-27 February 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Meeting agreed on the Rules of Procedure for the CFTA Negotiating Institutions, which will be provisionally applied pending approval by AU Ministers of Trade. The objectives of the Second Meeting are: considering the definitions of the CFTA Objectives and Principles Guiding CFTA Negotiations; defining approaches and modalities for CFTA Negotiations in trade in goods and services; and consideration and adoption of the Terms of Reference for various Technical Working Group. The meeting will also consider the work plan for the CFTA negotiations.

The CFTA Negotiating Forum was established by the Assembly and is composed of Officials from the African Union Member States. It has the responsibility of conducting trade negotiations at the technical level and it reports to the Committee of Senior Trade Officials on its negotiation activities. The CFTA Negotiating Forum also has the responsibility of preparing quarterly reports on progress made in the negotiations highlighting areas requiring higher level intervention to the Committee of Senior Officials, Ministers of Trade, High Level African Trade Committee (HATC) and the Assembly.

In view of the issues outlined above, the African Union Commission is organising the Second Meeting of the CFTA Negotiating Forum back to back with Senior Trade Officials and African Union Ministers of Trade to achieve the objectives outlined above.

The Continental Free Trade Area is a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063.

Journalists are invited to cover the official opening and closing ceremonies of the Meeting of the 2nd Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Negotiating Forum, on 16 and 19 May 2016.

Media Contacts:

Mr. Patient Atcho, Department of Trade and Industry of the AUC, Tel: +251 911335250, Email: atchop@africa-union.org

Mrs. Esther Azaa Tankou, Ag. Director of Information and Communication of the AUC, via E-mail: YambouE@africa-union.org / esthertankou@yahoo.com

For further information:

Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission I E-mail: DIC@african-union.org I Website: www.au.int I Addis Ababa | Ethiopia

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Directorate of Information and Communication

Directorate of Information and Communication | Information and Communication | African Union Commission

Tel: +251-11-5517700 | Fax: | E-mail: DIC@africa-union.org | Web:www.au.int

Addis Ababa | Ethiopia

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