Ethiopia needs 15 years to implement Africa free trade deal

The government of Ethiopia needs to get 15 years of preparation in order to impliment the flat / similar trade tariff proposed by the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA) deal, a government offcial says.

This is indicated by the Minister of Trade and Industry…whose message was aired on the state broadcaster EBC on Sunday evening. Minister Fetlework Gebregziabher stated that in order to the prepare the economy of Ethiopia and benefit from the AfCFTA, the country needs time.

Lifting the trade tariff at once will not be useful for our country. Therefore, we have taken a stand to negotiate at least 15 years before lifting the tariff gradually. We are working with other countries, which have similar interests to extend the period of lifting the tariff. Ethiopian parliament has approved AfCFTA a few months ago. The continental deal allows the free movement of Africans within the continent and its goods at about 20 percent flat tariff.

In relation to Ethiopia’s pursuit to become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), she stated that the government is recently reactivating the negotiation, which has been interrupted for about seven years. The Minister stated that chief WTO negotiator is also appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and a steering committee is also established. Minister Fetlework also stated that some 15 documents for the negotiation are already prepared.