Minister Patel Chairs African Trade Ministers Meeting in Abidjan

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Ebrahim Patel today chaired one of the opening sessions of the African Ministers Consultative Meeting in Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire. The consultative meeting was in preparation of the AGOA Forum with the United States, on 5-6 August 2019. Minister Patel was supported by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Fikile Slovo Majola.

The AGOA Forum is an annual meeting between the Ministers of Trade of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries and their US counterparts to discuss issues of mutual interest.
This year, the Forum is held under the theme: ‘AGOA and the Future: Developing a New Trade Paradigm to Guide US – Africa Trade and Investment’.

Minister Patel noted the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and highlighted the need of aligning trade partnerships to its goals.

“This is the first AGOA Forum since the launch of the operational phase of the ACFTA, the potential economic game changer for our Continent and the realisation of the decades old dream of the African economic unity. It is our ‘Made in Africa’ initiative and we have the opportunity in these proceedings to align AGOA and all our external initiatives to the goals of the African Continental FTA to enable us to speak with one voice and to build African Union institutions,” said Minister Patel.
Patel added that out of 1835 tariff lines under AGOA, Sub-Saharan Africa is only the trade access benefit using 748 tariff categories, or 40 percent of the total lines and called on the continent to address this.

“Indeed we only use 13 percent of the tariff lines under the bigger Generalised System of Preferences. We are here to discuss how to turn that around, to identify challenges and to take steps to increase utilisation of AGOA preferences as well as to deepen trade and investment relationships Africa and US,” he indicated.

He stated that the challenges of the continent are to create jobs, industrialise and increase Africa’s prosperity and development.

Minister Patel addressing the African Trade Ministers meeting in Abidjan

Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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