Free trade agreements spell out the tariffs, taxes and duties that countries impose on their imports and exports. Some of its advantages include increased economic growth, more dynamic business climate, lower government spending, direct foreign investments and technology transfer.
In 2015, 3 Regional Economic Communities (RECs) – the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) reached an agreement to expedite the process towards a Free Trade Area.
Ahead of plans to establish a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Africa, Nigeria has commenced negotiations to facilitate the adoption of the trade deal with a negotiation team, consisting of eight members led by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah.
Dr. Enelamah said, “These negotiations are a geo-strategic imperative because of Nigeria’s standing, position and leadership. Nigeria has a duty to provide leadership, inter alia, because the CFTA negotiations are based on a mandate from the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.
Deadline for the adoption of the CFTA was set by the African Union, in December 2017, though the Federal Government explained that the gruelling process of negotiations and adoption therefore, will depend on how much progress is made.
Will a free trade agreement add the much-needed capital or crowd out domestic industries, especially Nigeria’s emerging markets while aggravating unemployment, crime, and poverty? Share your thoughts.