COMESA member states urged to consolidate free trade area


Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has urged its member states to continue consolidating free trade area across the region, reports said on Tuesday. In its final communiqué of the eighteenth summit of the Heads of States and government taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, COMESA also appealed to its member states to remove all non- tariff barriers using the tripartite online reporting and monitoring mechanism.

APAThe regional grouping has appreciated Uganda for beginning to implement the COMESA Free Trade Area (FTA) and commended commitments of Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea to joining the COMESA free Trade Area.

The intra- COMESA trade had increased to $22.4 billion in 2014 signifying a recovery from $12.7 billion in 2009.

The summit also urged COMESA member states that have not accepted the protocol amending WTOTRIPS Agreement to do so as soon as possible and notify the WTO Secretariat by December 2015 after which date the acceptance shall be invalid.

The summit further called on member states to promote and invest in strategic programs aimed at improving access, manufacture and distribution of antiretroviral and other drugs and medical commodities as a sustainable step towards ending major epidemics including AIDS, TB and malaria.


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