Trade Advocacy Fund

AU hosts Third Meeting of the CFTA Negotiating Forum

October 6th, 2016 by

Hosted by AU Commission’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Addis Ababa from 3rd to 7th October 2016, the main objective of the Third Meeting of the CFTA Negotiating Forum (CFTA-NF) is to consider and adopt Terms of Reference for the remaining Technical Working Groups; and to consider and adopt the Modalities for the CFTA Negotiations in trade in goods and trade in services. The main expected results are therefore adopted Terms of Reference (ToR) for the remaining Technical Working Groups (on Rules of Origin, Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures, Trade Remedies and Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation) as well as an adopted Modalities for the CFTA Negotiations in trade in goods and trade in services.

The meeting will be attended by Chief Trade Negotiators from all eligible Member States of the African Union. It will also be attended by Trade Officials from the following RECs and institutions; AMU, CEN-SAD, COMESA, EAC, ECCAS, ECOWAS, IGAD, SADC, UNECA and the African Development Bank.

The 25th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2015 launched the negotiations for the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). The launch of the negotiations marked a major milestone in the implementation of the Summit decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area by 2017. The objective of negotiating the CFTA is to achieve a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement among the Member States of the African Union. The CFTA Negotiating Forum was established by the Assembly and is composed of Officials from 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, the High Level African Trade Committee (HATC) and the Assembly.

To date, two CFTA Negotiating Forum meetings have successfully been conducted. In particular, the Second Meeting of the CFTA Negotiating Forum was organized back to back with the Meeting of Senior Trade Officials and African Ministers of Trade at the Headquarters of the African Union Commission from May 16 – 24, 2016. On this occasion, the Meeting of the African Union Ministers of Trade which was held on May 24, 2016 adopted the Rules of Procedure for the CFTA Negotiating Institutions (TI/CFTA/AMOT/ROP/Final); the Definitions for the CFTA Negotiations Guiding Principles (TI/CFTA/AMOT/1/GP/Final); and subject to adoption of the Modalities, the work plan for the CFTA NF.

The Trade Advocacy Fund financed a grant to the AUC DTI which supported the preparation stage of the CFTA Negotiations from October 2014 to May 2016, including supporting the preparation of the Rules of Procedure and the Definitions for the Guiding Principles.

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TAF Projects (December 2013)
Country or Region Grant Title

Implementation Status

Afghanistan Advisory Mission to Afghanistan

Completed

COMESA Advisory Mission to the East and Southern Africa (ESA) Group

Completed

EAC Advisory Mission to the EAC

Completed

Ethiopia Advisory Mission to Ethiopia

Completed

Global Feasibility Study for Advisory Centre on Regional Trade Agreements (ACORTA)

Completed

Global TAF Advisory Event 1

Completed

Lao PDR Advisory Mission to Lao PDR

Completed

Lesotho Advisory Mission to Lesotho

Completed

Malawi Advisory Mission to Malawi

Completed

Multi-Region Advisory Mission to  the AUC

Completed

Nepal Advisory Mission to Nepal

Completed

PIFS Support to Pacific ACP States in EPA negotiations

Completed

Samoa Logistical Support

Completed

Sierra Leone Advisory Mission to Sierra Leone

Completed

Solomon Islands Advisory Mission to the Solomon Islands

Completed

Sri Lanka Advisory Mission to Sri Lanka

Completed

Uganda Advisory Mission to Uganda

Completed

Vanuatu Advisory Mission to Vanuatu

Completed

ACP Call-down Support to the ACP Group in Geneva

Ongoing

Afghanistan Trade Negotiation Training and Capacity Building Support to Ministry of Commerce and Industry

Ongoing

EAC TradeSift Training for EAC Tripartite FTA Negotiations

Ongoing

ECOWAS Trade Capacity Building Programme

Ongoing

ECOWAS WTO Law Advisory Services and Capacity Building

Ongoing

Global Channel 2: Training on WTO Law and Dispute Settlement – ACWL

Ongoing

Global Channel 2: Training on WTO Law and Dispute Settlement – Trapca

Ongoing

Global TAF Advisory Publications/Toolkits

Ongoing

LDC Group Support to LDC Services Waiver

Ongoing

Nigeria Support to Nigeria Ministry of Trade and Investment

Ongoing

PIFS Support to the Pacific ACP States in EPA negotiations

Ongoing

OCTA Support for PACER Plus Negotiations

Ongoing

Solomon Islands Strengthening Trade Negotiation Capacity of Solomon Islands

Ongoing

The Gambia Support to the Ministry of Trade

Ongoing

TMSA Support to Tripartite FTA negotiations

Ongoing

Vanuatu Trade Negotiations Support

Ongoing

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