European Union, expert tip Malawi on AfCFTA
European Union (EU) official has urged Malawi to focus on making the most of trade integration if it is to be party to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The call was made recently at a validation workshop on studies on opportunities and challenges for Malawi’s participation in various trade agreements.
In an interview, EU Team Leader for Economic, Trade and Governance Section, Jose Maria Medina Navarro, said integration has proven effective in facilitating trade and economic growth.
“While there are benefits in integrating there are costs in disintegrating, costs in terms of revenues and tariffs but also integration of the economies themselves, supply chains, trading patterns business links and others, the best is to stay integrated,” Navarro said.
In a separate interview Monday, Economics Professor at Chancellor College, Ben Kalua, said Malawi has not substantially benefited from its affiliation to some bodies.
“We are better off trading with better deals in that trade bloc than going it alone,” Kalua said.
Malawi was among 44 countries that signed the agreement to establish the AfCFTA but it is yet to ratify it.
The AfCFTA entered into force on May 30, 2019 and countries that submitted ratification instruments are expected to start trading under it on July 1 2020.
Currently, countries involved are negotiating protocols on investment, competition and intellectual property rights, rules of origin, tariffs among others.