The African Union and the AfCFTA Agreement

The African Union was created in 2002 to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), an organisation founded by 32 African states in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 1963 with the aim of promoting African integration and to represent the African continent as a united bloc on the international stage. The ideal at the heart ofContinue reading “The African Union and the AfCFTA Agreement”

Does the AfCFTA contain adequate mechanisms to ensure trade cooperation and predictability in the event of crisis or emergencies?

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) released on 14 May 2020 a Policy Brief which provides a preliminary analysis, from an African perspective, of the limits of international trade law in times of crisis, offering policy recommendations for African policy makers to consider.  Following a brief analysis of the law of international trade as it applies toContinue reading “Does the AfCFTA contain adequate mechanisms to ensure trade cooperation and predictability in the event of crisis or emergencies?”

Commodity dependence in the Horn of Africa

The last UNCTAD report on the “State of Commodity Dependence”, issued in 2019, shows that all the Horn of Africa (HoA) countries are commodity-dependent, in most cases agricultural commodities-dependent. A country is defined “commodity-dependent” when more than 60 per cent of its total exports consists in primary commodities, these ones being represented by: agricultural products (whichContinue reading “Commodity dependence in the Horn of Africa”

Customs Unions in Africa

A Customs Union (CU) is a type of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which in addition to the removal of tariff barriers between members, includes the adoption of a Common External Tariff (CET) applicable against non-members Article XXIV, par. 7 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1947) stipulates that “any contracting party deciding toContinue reading “Customs Unions in Africa”

Global Value Chains explained

“Nations may have borders, but businesses no longer do”, Anthony Mistri (Economics expert at the World Trade Organization – WTO) The Global Value Chain (GVC) concept refers to that international production sharing method where the production process is broken into different stages, each (or part) of them being re-allocated in different countries of the world.  GVCs are an evolution of the economic concept of “division of labour”, popularised by Adam Smith in its book “AnContinue reading “Global Value Chains explained”

Preferential Trade Agreements and the never ending debate about their compatibility with the WTO system

Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) are an important feature of the global trade system, most of them being adopted in the form of free trade agreements (FTAs), or in some cases of Customs Unions (CUs). As is well known, the main difference between these two types of PTAs is that in a Customs Union the participating countries, apart from reducing or eliminating barriers to theirContinue reading “Preferential Trade Agreements and the never ending debate about their compatibility with the WTO system”

Will the AfCFTA implementation be pragmatically supported by African countries?

An interesting article published by Andrew Mold, Acting Director, Office for Eastern Africa, Economic Commission for Africa, talks in favour of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), pointing out how the AfCFTA will promote the growth of regional trade, and rejecting the criticism of those who are skeptical to its implementation. One of the most important impendingContinue reading “Will the AfCFTA implementation be pragmatically supported by African countries?”

Rising protectionism and degeneration of protectionist trade policies

Tariffs are not the only instruments that national governments use to limit imports or stimulate exports. There are several other non-tariff barriers that exist, which in most cases are not easy to detect. Among these measures there are import quotas or other restrictions placed on the imports of foreign competitors, trade remedies (ex. antidumping, anti-subsidy andContinue reading “Rising protectionism and degeneration of protectionist trade policies”

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