The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat has hinted of plans to address concerns of standardization of goods and services by some member countries.
The Secretariat says the various standardization authorities across the continent are collaborating to address the issue.
Nigeria’s borders have long been closed over concerns of dumping of poor quality good unto its market.
Observers of the space believe that, if this issue is not checked, African countries will become dumpsite for substandard goods due to the implementation of AfCFTA.
But speaking to Citi Business News, Chairman for the AfCFTA Committee on Trade in Goods jointly with sub-committee on customs, Fenchi Akoto, assured that measures have been put in place to address such concerns.
“It is a very comprehensive agreement that we have come out with almost in line with what pertains with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) so all those issues will be taken care of. I don’t think any country will have issues. If you have an issue we have a dispute resolution committee within the framework that you have to lodge your complaints to.”
Nigeria’s border closure
Nigeria closed its border to stop what it called the smuggling of products from its neighbouring West African countries into the country.
The action taken by Nigeria was to express its displeasure at the attitude of the Beninese authorities in order to elicit their cooperation.
Several calls for the country to open the border have been unsuccessful.
After three months of closing the border, Nigeria extended the period for the closure of its frontiers to other countries till January 31, 2020. But, coupled with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic its borders have still remained closed.
Border still closed despite ratifying AfCFTA agreement
Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Victor Liman, announced that despite Nigeria agreeing to ratify the agreement, its land borders will remain closed until Nigeria can ensure West African neighbours don’t dump substandard goods unto its market.
AfCFTA is an agreement among 54 African countries set to commence in January next year. It has an estimated potential of boosting both intra-African trade by 52.3 percent by eliminating import duties.
The agreement seeks to establish a single market for goods and services across 54 countries, allow the free movement of business travellers and investments, and create a continental customs union to streamline trade – and attract long-term investment.
With a combined market of over 1.2 billion people (which is expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2050) and a GDP of $2.5 trillion, AfCFTA could potentially make Africa the largest free trade area in the world since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.