Pretoria – Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies will today leave for Uganda where he will attend the Tripartite Committee of Sectoral Ministers meeting.
The meeting, which will be held in Kampala on Friday, will give the Ministers from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), and Southern African Development Community (SADC) an opportunity to get an update on the progress achieved in the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) negotiations.
The TFTA consists of 26 member states of the African Union.
The TFTA marks an important step in promoting regional integration in Africa and is a building block for the Continental Free Trade Area. The meeting is expected to consider the remaining annexes, thus marking the conclusion of the legal framework for trade in goods, said the Department of Trade and Industry.
This will facilitate the signature of the agreement by all member states.
Negotiations on tariffs, rules of origin and Phase II will continue as part of the built-in agenda.
Minister Davies has said that considerable progress has been achieved in tariff negotiations between Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the EAC and Egypt. According to Minister Davies, it is expected that SACU and the EAC will conclude the tariff negotiations in the near future.
Launch of Microfinish Automotive
Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe will on Friday launch the multi-million black industrialist firm, Microfinish Automotive in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal.
Microfinish, which is an automotive valve guide and valve seat manufacturer, was approved for grant funding from the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) Black Industrialist Scheme (BIS) for R13.5 million.
The BIS is a grant programme of the Black Industrialists Policy that aims to unlock the potential within black industrialists operating in the South African economy through deliberate, targeted and well-defined financial and non-financial interventions.
The company is a niche manufacturer and supplier to original equipment manufacturers and aftermarkets suppliers.
Deputy Minister Magwanishe said Microfinish contributes to South Africa’s capability and competitiveness in exporting quality products to first world countries like Germany.
Microfinish has utilised the department’s Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) scheme to exhibit and market the company at numerous international and South African trade fairs, resulting in the addition of new customers in Europe and the Middle East.
The scheme develops export markets for South African products and services and recruits new foreign direct investment into South Africa.
Currently, a total number of 46 Black Industrialist projects have been approved for joint support by the dti, the Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and commercial banks through the Black Industrialists Financing forum.
A total of 16 of these approved are from KwaZulu-Natal. These projects will be injecting R3.7 billion investments into the economy and generating more than 8 000 direct jobs and 12 000 indirect jobs, said Deputy Minister Magwanishe.
Source: South African Government News Agency