TradeEasier Webinar : Focus on Southern Africa

October 27 @ 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
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Background

Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) are among the main obstacles to trade between African countries. These regulatory and procedural barriers include customs operations and border documentation requirements, rules of origin documentation, pre-shipment inspections, transport regulations, sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs). Although the negative impact of these measures on intra-regional trade is recognised, thus far there has been limited success in addressing them.

A report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) shows that African countries could gain US$20 billion each year by tackling such barriers at the continental level – much more than the $3.6 billion they could gain by eliminating tariffs. The sound application of trade-related regulations to ensure consumer health, protect the environment and safeguard national security is legitimate – but disproportionate restrictions or cumbersome enforcement can still amount to NTBs and should be addressed. The use of NTBs for protectionism goes against the principles of African integration.

The United Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) estimates that the AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-African trade by 52.3 per cent by eliminating import duties and double trade if NTBs are also reduced. With the opening up of the African market under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), greater success will be realised if governments track and facilitate the removal of NTBs. That is why the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) reporting, monitoring and eliminating mechanism (tradebarriers.africa) is a welcome development. This tool makes it possible for African businesses to play an active role in removing obstacles to continental trade by reporting NTBs and getting an online resolution to the issue so that trading can continue unhindered. Reported barriers are monitored and addressed by national, regional and continental authorities through a coordination mechanism. This mechanism is part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), adopted by African Heads of State.

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME’s), informal traders, and youth and women business operators play a crucial role in African trade but are disproportionately impacted by NTBs due to their limited resources and access to information. To address this issue, the #TradeEasier campaign seeks to raise awareness and inform African businesses, specifically MSME’s, about the trade barriers platform so they can more easily report barriers to trade to national and continental authorities and get support in getting them resolved. One of the main components of this social media campaign is a series of webinars focused on discussions around how to trade more easily across Africa, and the first webinar in the series will focus on Southern Africa. The #TradeEasier webinar series will be the flagship feature of this digital campaign.

Objectives

The webinar series aims to:

  1. Raise awareness amongst African business about the main barriers to trade in their region and the continent, and highlight the trade barriers platform as an existing solution to report and get support in resolving non-tariff barriers to trade.
  2. Provide a discussion platform to better understand and explain the options to overcome non-tariff barriers to trade, including the trade barriers platform.
  3. Bring together African businesses to share their real-life experiences and accounts of non-tariff barriers to trade and explore their suggestions for trading easier across the continent.


Speakers

Moderator

  • Tsotetsi Makong, Trade Facilitation Expert, Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa

Opening Remarks

  • Willie Shumba, Senior Customs Expert and Advisor, Department of Industry and Trade, AUC

Panellists:

  • Jacob Makambwe, Secretary General, Southern Africa Cross Border Traders Association (SACBTA)
  • Ruramiso Mashumba, Managing Director, Mnandi Africa
  • Yavi Madurai, Executive Director, Pan African Business Women’s Association

Discussion Questions and Topics

Panel questions

We seek to explore the following general questions and issues during the webinar:

  1. What are the main causes of non‑tariff barriers?
  2. How do you think women, young people and MSME’s are specifically affected by non-tariff barriers to trade?
  3. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted trade in the region, have you noted any further restrictions on your ability to trade (with a focus on non-tariff barriers)?
  4. How are non-tariff barriers usually dealt with or overcome by African businesses?
  5. According to the Africa Regional Integration Index, COMESA’s best performance is in trade integration why do you think that is – and what can the continent learn from the region?
  6. How can we work more collaboratively across the public and private sector to resolve non-tariff barriers to trade?
  7. How will the AfCFTA deal with non-tariff barriers?

Polling questions

 We will run a short poll for attendees during the webinar and propose the following questions:

  1. What are the top 3 most common barriers to trade that you face?
  • Restrictive practices tolerated by government, e.g. tax benefits or
  • Customs and Administrative procedures, e.g. Import licenses or rules of origin
  • Technical Barriers, e.g. packaging, labelling and marking requirements
  • Sanitary or Phytosanitary measures, e.g. proof your product is free from
  • Specific Limitations, e.g. limits on export and import
  • Charges on Imports, e.g. surcharges
  • Other, e.g.
  1. How do you resolve the issues you named above?
  • By speaking with your local authority
  • Conforming with the requirements
  • Using a reporting mechanism, for example, tradebarriers.africa
  • Not trading
  • Other
  1. How often do you face these barriers?
    • More than 75% of the time you trade
    • Between 50%-75% of the times you trade
    • Between 25%-50% of the times you trade
    • Less than 25% of the times you trade
    • Never

Registration

Registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DF9S5QeyRGONzT-B6VYlDw

Details

Date:
October 27
Time:
10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Website:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DF9S5QeyRGONzT-B6VYlDw

Venue

Zoom
Switzerland + Google Map

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