South Africa have formally received offers from Egypt, São Tomé and CEMAC (Economic Community of Central African States – Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea). These are lists of tariff concessions these countries are proposing and which, if accepted, will define the position our exporters can expect to face when the AfCFTA is implemented. When I say implemented, I am speaking of the common use of the word, not the political definition which seems to mostly mean press releases saying it has been implemented, without anything actually having happened.
South Africa, on New Year’s eve, drunk texted a real implementation of the agreement, meaning we inserted it into our Customs Act and our duty position for the rest of Africa was set. If by Africa you mean Egypt and São Tomé that is. If you import from those countries right now, you will pay the duties noted in the tariff book applicable to AfCFTA. If you import from any other African country, you will still pay the General rate of duty.
Having firm offers from these 8 countries is important as it least it starts the process which will ultimately lead to new markets for our exporters. How long it will take to be finalised and implemented into their domestic legislation? This is anyone’s guess and there are no tangible benefits of the agreement until it is implemented into their legislation.
Want to see the offers and possibly respond to them?
Good. This is the kind of civic activism usually absent from the trade arena. If you want to see the offers, mail us on email@example.com.
If you wish to comment on the offers you have until 22 February 2021 to have your say!
Yes, that is 3 days from now, a strong indicator of zero expectation from government of any meaningful industry participation in the process. Given the importance of this agreement, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to have your voice heard. If you think 3 days is not enough time, let us know that too and we will file for an extension to the response period.
Oh and don’t worry. The Egyptian offer is accompanied by an English translation. The other 2 offers are in Portuguese and French, so those 3 days to comment, coupled with Google Translate, should be (in)adequate to analyse the impact on your business, find the opportunities and formulate your response.
Sarcasm aside. This is important. If exporting into Africa matters to you, then get it touch with us, so we can file an extension request today. This is what we do. If you need help, get in touch.
Contact us on email@example.com for more information.