The Ministry of Trade has said Malawi remains committed to the Comesa–East African Community–Sadc Tripartite Free Trade Area.
This is despite the country taking seven years to ratify the free trade area after signing it in 2015.
Speaking in Lilongwe on Thursday during the National Sensitisation Workshop on Trapartite Free Trade Area for Malawi, Secretary for Trade Christina Zakeyo said the ratification is awaiting the finalisation of the national consultations.
Zakeyo said the tripartite provides a wider market with over 600 million people and a GDP of $1 trillion.
“In the negotiations of the Tripartite Rules of Origin, 90 percent of the TFTA list of Rules of Origin has been agreed upon. Only the rules of origin covering a few products of the textiles and clothing and automotive sectors remain outstanding,” Zakeyo said.
She added that Malawi also realises the importance of developing her industries so that the country is able to trade with its trade partners.
“Malawi believes that rules of origin should be simple and business friendly to promote trade and investment other than to frustrate business. Malawi also believes that regional integration should benefit all, not just a few. These issues have to be seen to be dealt with decisively during the negotiations,” Zakeyo said.
A total of 29 countries are in the tripartite agreement of which only 11 have ratified.
East African Community Director of Trade Rashid Kibowa said the Trapartite needs three more countries to ratify it for the agreement to set into motion.