Study on Domestication of Regional and Bilateral Trade Agreements for Malawi has stressed the need to set up competent national institutions to investigate and hear cases on antidumping, countervailing duties and safeguards.
The study was conducted by an independent consultant, Trade and Development Studies (Trades) Center as part of the European Union’s (EU) Technical Assistance to Support Malawi in Bilateral and Regional Trade Negotiations.
The study notes that Malawi is a dualist legal system as opposed to a monistic legal system therefore any treaty including, regional trade agreements, have to be domesticated into national law before implementation.
It further says agreements under the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) have not been domesticated in the true sense such that there is no law specifically incorporating these agreements into the national laws.
“There are some policies and laws which incorporate principles in these agreements: Customs and Excise Duty Act, Malawi bureau of Standards Act, Plant Protection Act, these laws however do not conform with the requirements under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) so they need to be beefed up,” Reads the study in part.
The study recommends regional level commitments and address overlapping membership to be able to domesticate existing agreements but also accreditation of laboratories which provide testing services for exports and imports to facilitate mutual recognition of tests and technical regulations and standards.
Trades Director, Moses Tekere, added that there is need to assist in the fast-tracking of the CfTFA and TFTA as this addresses the issue of overlapping commitments in SADC and COMESA
“Malawi needs to look at institutional capacity building of national authorities for antidumping, countervailing and safeguards framework taking into account the costs of running such national authorities and sustainability in the long run.
“You also should emphasise on capacity building to ensure compliance with obligations under RTAs but also provide funds for aligning national legislation with international agreements and this should include adjustment costs relating to implementation of RTAs such as how to make up for revenue loss arising from liberalisation,” Tekere said.
Currently government officials are soliciting views from various stakeholders on how best to go about ratifying the AfCFTA.