Trade and Industry

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Working Paper 5-2009: Exploring the COMESA-EAC-SADC Trilateral Free Trade Area: An Approach to Rules of Origin

  • Year: 2009
  • Organisation: TIPS
  • Author(s): Mmatlou Kalaba

The heads of states of the Common Markets for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East Africa Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) met in Uganda in October 2008 to discuss broader objectives of the three regional trading blocs. This was later referred to as the Tripartite Summit. Discussions centred on achieving acceleration of economic integration on the continent in line with the Abuja Treaty and on the African Union objective of the formation of one continental economic bloc. The key issues for the three blocs were regional trade liberalisation, infrastructure development and a legal and institutional framework. The leaders agreed to initiate a process of coordination and harmonisation of programmes in order to progress towards the goals of expanding trade, alleviating poverty and attaining the overall development objective. The Summit provided a platform for the three blocs to join forces in forming a larger Free Trade Area (FTA).