ZLECAF: finally 3% of products will be excluded from liberalization

Meeting on Thursday, March 14, at the end of the first meeting of the year of the National Committee of International Trade Negotiations (CNNCI), the Senegalese officials have decided on certain decisions taken concerning the liberalization of goods and services and rules of ‘origins.

The objective of this day was to take stock of the state of evolution of the Negotiations for the implementation of the African Free Trade Area (ZLECAF).

Thus, the Director of Foreign Trade of Senegal, Assome Aminata Diatta, revealed that after intense negotiations, the member countries of ZLECAF finally decided in Cairo (7th session) to exclude 3% of the products of the liberalization in instead of 10% initially planned.

The Director recalled that the member countries had decided to open up to 90% on certain products (over a period of 5 years for developing countries and 10 years for LDCs). And exclude 10% of the products of liberalization.

And to clarify that, “now what has been retained is to liberalize 7% of sensitive products of a much longer duration. And 3% of products will be excluded for the moment from liberalization.

Nevertheless, she stresses, there will be a rendezvous clause every 5 years. This will allow the Member States to take a new decision on the products that will be excluded or included according to the evolution of the market.

Referring to the status of negotiations on rules of origin (RO), Fallou Mbow Fall, Deputy Director of Foreign Trade of Senegal, pointed out that of the 96 chapters of the harmonized RO system, 82 were adopted, a percentage of 85%.

According to the manager, significant progress has been made by the technical commission responsible for ROs. For the moment, he informs, 14 chapters will be discussed at the next meeting of the technical working group, scheduled from 25 March to 6 April.

“These outstanding issues will be addressed without forgetting those related to general ROs. We can mention the products that are manufactured in special economic zones, “he said. And to clarify that the debate will also focus on RO value added, ships and factory ships.

With a potential market of 1.2 billion consumers and a cumulative GDP of $ 2.5 trillion, the ZLECAF intends to enter its second phase of negotiations as early as next April.

Member States are firmly committed to giving the green light to this single market no later than this year. Recall that only 2 Member States need to ratify this agreement (24/44) for ZLECAF to enter into force.

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