AfCTA blessing to producers – Yaluma

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BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes

@SunZambian

THE African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) will create opportunities for scaling up production for Zambian producers, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma has said.

Mr Yaluma urged local producers to produce competitive products because the AfCTA will provide huge market access.

The AfCTA agreement, which Zambia is part of, is expected to enter into force on May 30, 2019.

Mr Yaluma said AfCFTA was expected to provide a huge market, ultimately contributing to job and wealth creation for Zambia and all African countries.

He was speaking recently in Lusaka at the national forum on the AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA, Mr Yaluma said, would be the largest trading bloc on the continent once fully operational.

He said the bloc would bring together 55 African countries with a combined population of more than one billion and a combined gross domestic product of more than US$3.4 trillion.

“The AfCFTA will create opportunities for scaling up production for producers not only in Zambia but in the whole of Africa.

The AfCTA is expected to liberalise trade in goods and services for African countries and extends its coverage to investment, competition policy and intellectual property rights,” Mr Yaluma said.

He, however, said there were still some challenges that Zambia would need to overcome to fully benefit from the platform despite the optimism regarding implementing it.

Some of the challenges, he said, were the expected rise from non-tariff barriers as experience had shown.

“The country will, therefore, need to develop an effective national committee for non-tariff barriers to deal with this issue.

“Another imminent challenge is that of restrictive trade in services regulations that could impede trade despite countries making commitments in their schedule of concessions for trade in services,” Mr Yaluma said.

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