Commonwealth Trade Hot Topics

The Trade Hot Topics series provides concise and informative analyses of various trade and trade-related issues which are prepared both by Commonwealth Secretariat and international experts.



A New Free Trade Area and Another in the Making

Economic integration in Eastern and Southern Africa made notable progress in 2000, the year ending with the establishment of a new free trade area (FTA) and the first steps towards the ultimate establishment of another. The FTA of the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) saw the abolition of tariffs in the broader region for the first time since the dissolution both of the Federation of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland and of the East African Community in the 1960s and 1970s respectively. The FTA came into operation just two months after the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had begun implementing tariff reductions which will lead to its FTA in 2008. This issue of Trade Hot Topics discusses the current situation in these two regional groupings, and their approach to forthcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations and the proposed Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU.


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