Malawi stands to benefit from the Tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) which apart from being a model of a deeper regional market integration in Africa, it will also increase the size of the region as an investment area.
Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesperson Wiskes Nkombezi was commenting on the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Tripartite Trade Negotiation Forum (TTNF) held in Lusaka, Zambia, recently.
He noted that the increase in the size of the region as an investment area will attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) as investors prefer large markets for their goods, hence; trade will be expanded in the country as well as in the region.
The area has a population of about 600 million and a gross domestic product (GDP) of over $1 trillion.
The area has also come up with the interpretation of the negotiating principles which will be part of the annexure to the tripartite trade negotiations.
Nkombezi said, among other things, the meeting created technical working groups to work on specific issues to be negotiated.
â€œThe meeting formed two technical working groups, namely: customs cooperation, documentation, procedures and transit instruments and technical barriers to trade (including standards and metrology) sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) and non-tariff barriers (NTBs).
â€œThe meeting set April 30 2012 as a deadline for the submission of information on tariffs and trade data to the tripartite task force,â€ he said.
Senior trade expert at Comesa Secretariat, Mwansa Musonda, was quoted on the Comesa website as saying the tripartite has made headway in the implementation of the Tripartite FTA because all the three regional economic communities that have joined hands have agreed on working in harmony.