19 June 2017

Africa: Minister Davies Returns From AU Ministerial Meeting

Pretoria — Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has arrived back in the country after attending the third African Union (AU) Ministers of Trade meeting in Niger.

The meeting, which was held in the West African country among others discussed preparations for the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and agreed to have a dedicated informal session of African Ministers of Trade to engage and coordinate Africa's position on the WTO.

The meeting was held from 15 to 16 June 2017.

The Ministerial meeting, which was preceded by the 6th Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Negotiating Forum and the third meeting of senior trade officials, adopted the Modalities for Tariff Negotiations and Trade in Services.

In a statement on Sunday, Minister Davies said this will facilitate the exchange of tariff and services offers, as well as the finalisation of the CFTA Agreement.

The Minister further emphasised the importance of enhancing intra-Africa trade and investment, and regional economic integration through the CFTA.

The CFTA negotiations were launched by the AU Heads of State and government during their Assembly in June 2015 in Johannesburg.

The President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, who is also the Champion of the CFTA, has been mandated to report on the outcomes of the AU Ministers of Trade and progress made in the CFTA negotiations to the AU Summit next month.

The trade ministers further welcomed Togo's offer to host the 16th session of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in August this year and agreed to assess future US-Africa relations in line with the new USA administration's Trade Policy released in March 2017.

The 15th AGOA Forum was held in Washington last year under the theme "Maximizing US-Africa Trade and Investment: AGOA and Beyond".

Earlier this week, during the US-Africa Business Summit held in Washington D.C, African Ministers requested the USA government to provide clarity on its policy approach to US-Africa relations.

This was the first engagement that was held with President Donald Trump's administration.

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