GIS – 16 December, 2013: A Meeting of the Technical Working Group on Rules of Origin in the context of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations, opened this morning at Le Méridien Hotel, in Pointe-aux-Piments.
The four-day meeting, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, is bringing together around 100 trade and custom experts from the 26 Member States of Tripartite region encompassing COMESA, EAC and SADC countries.
It is recalled that the second Tripartite Summit held in South Africa, in June 2011, launched the negotiations for the Tripartite FTA. Following discussions on the modalities of the negotiations, Member States are now engaged in negotiating the draft Tripartite FTA text as well as its Annexes on Rules of Origin, Non-Tariff Barriers, Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures, Dispute Settlement and Trade Remedies, amongst others. These Annexes will form the integral part of the text constituting the Tripartite FTA.
The Tripartite FTA will cover some 6,000 products. While most of the products will be aligned to the existing rules of COMESA, SADC and EAC, some products will be subject to “specific rule to each product” depending on the outcome of the negotiations.
The present Technical Working Group on Rules of Origin in Mauritius is pursuing discussions on criteria that would qualify a product to be considered as originating from the Tripartite region. The discussions are focusing on the level of processing in various products, type of ownership and operation of vessels and factory ships.
The Tripartite initiative aims at harmonising the trade regimes of the COMESA, EAC and SADC through the establishment of an enlarged FTA. The objective of the Tripartite FTA is to achieve a larger market with a single economic space which will make it more attractive to investment and large scale production.
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