Minister Rob Davies on outcomes of the African Continent Free Trade Area

Minister Davies emphasises the significance of the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to Africa’s development

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies today briefed the media on the outcomes of the African Continent Free Trade Area (CFTA) by the African Union Extraordinary Summit that took place in Kigali, Rwanda on 21 March 2018. Minister Davies reiterated the importance of the AfCFTA to Africa’s development.

The AfCFTA will boost intra-Africa trade and create a bigger market of over 1 billion people with a GDP of $2.6 trillion that will unlock industrial development said Davies. He emphasised that for the AfCFTA to have broader benefits it has to be complemented by cooperation on industrial and infrastructure development which are key components of the development integration approach. This will ensure that the African continent addresses the productive and supply-side constraints.

Furthermore, he stated that the AfCFTA is an economic imperative to address the challenge of small and fragmented markets. It is also being established at a time when the multilateral trading system is facing challenges.

Minister Davies attended an Informal WTO Ministers Meeting on 19 and 20 March 2018 in New Delhi, India. He emphasised that Africa’s overriding economic objectives are to advance integration and industrialisation across the continent in line with Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.

We seek the policy space to pursue these objectives, and the WTO should enable their achievement or at a minimum not impede them, said Davies.

Minister Davies also briefed the media about South Africa’s position regarding the Section 232 investigation by the United States of America (U.S.) on steel and aluminium products. President Donald Trump has signed Proclamations to impose a 10 percent ad valorem tariff on imports of aluminium articles and a 25 percent ad valorem tariff on imports of steel articles alleging that imports of these products threaten to impair US national security.

He reiterated SA’s concern that some of the tariff lines included in the Proclamations are covered under Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and the General System of Preferences and the application of duties will erode the benefits under these preferential arrangements. He emphasised South Africa does not a pose a threat to US national security and to the US steel and aluminium industries but is a source of strategic primary and secondary products used in further value added manufacturing in the US contributing to job creation in both countries.

Source: Government of South Africa