This article ponders on the developments in the Southern African cooperation in competition enforcement through some of the regional economic instruments, namely, the 2002 Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Agreement, the 2004 Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Competition Regulations, the 2009 Southern African Development Community (SADC) Declaration on regional cooperation in competition and consumer policies, and the African Competition Forum (ACF). In this regard, I briefly touch on the importance of regional cooperation in enforcing competition regulation, the challenges faced in the implementation of Southern African regional competition regimes (RCRs), and the reasons why these RCRs face these challenges.
Regional Trade Agreements
This blog post illustrates the role of national competition agencies (NCAs) in enforcing regional-level competition laws in Africa. Generally, the journey to regional integration starts with action at the national level. Then, as countries enter discussions and negotiations, treaties or agreements are signed containing articles that spell out common interests between States.
This Symposium is jointly organized by AfronomicsLaw, the Chair of International Relations at the Hochshule für Politik, Technical University of Munich Germany, and the Mandela Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. It builds on a paper written by Prof Tim Büthe and Vellah Kedogo Kigwiru in the inaugural issue of African Journal of International Economic Law, titled 'The Spread of Competition Law and Policy in Africa: A Research Agenda'. The journal article set out a research agenda for better understanding the reality, promise, and limitations of competition law and policy in Africa at the n1ational and regional level. Consequently, this Symposium brings together competition law scholars, practitioners, and competition agencies' bureaucrats across the world to critically and comparatively discuss the reality, promises, and challenges facing the enforcement of specifically regional level competition policies in the Global South.
There is need for Customs administrations in Africa to evolve from gate-keeping role and enforcement of policies on behalf of other government departments, to being active contributors in the policy-making initiatives. Customs officials involved in manning ports of entry should be involved in assessing the practicality of certain trade measures like Rules of Origin as well as making contribution on how best to enforce the regional trade arrangements. This could involve the relevant trade Ministers involved in the regional negotiations consulting with Customs administrations on the best approach to design the measures that would directly require Customs enforcement.
This post engages with the Global Value Chain Development (GVCD) reports co-published by the World Trade Organization and the World Bank. It focuses on one central claim these reports have made about the development-related benefits of firms’ participation in GVCs, and on the policy recommendations that follow. The claim is that by inserting themselves into global value chains (GVCs) and technologically upgrading, firms can move up the value-added ladder and capture a greater share of the economic rewards, thereby also benefiting workers and their states in terms of employment, income and taxation.
Although the use of the plural on ‘provisions’, in the Transparency Mechanism could also be interpreted as meaning notification under GATT Article XXIV (for RTAs in goods) and GATS Article V (for RTAs in services) only, it remains an open question. Consequently, notification of the Protocol on Trade in Goods of the AfCFTA under both routes (GATT Article XXIV and Enabling Clause) would come as no surprise despite the dubious legality of such a practice.
Considering the ambition of the AfCFTA for deep integration, aiming at liberalizing trade in goods, services, investment, intellectual property, competition and e-commerce, and to guarantee that compliance schedules are absolute results of negotiated arrangements among African countries as opposed to the superintendence and policing of the WTO, this essay suggests that a Full Agreement pathway to notification should be considered.
Now that the commencement of AFCTA has been postponed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need for a clear conceptualisation of flexibility in relation to the commitments and obligations created in African RTAs including the AFCTA. There is also a need to identify how some narratives that are subsumed in the flexibility paradigm may end up doing more harm than good to informal trade engagements in the continent.
The aim of this piece is to contribute to the evolving debate around the AfCFTA and its relationship with the WTO. It considers whether the practice of African RTAs to rely on the Enabling Clause since 1979 should be replicated. Considering the ambition of the AfCFTA for a deep integration, aiming at liberalising trade in goods, services, investment, intellectual property, competition, etc, the Enabling Clause appears as a second-best option.
The conference is organised by the Postgraduate and Early Professionals/Academics Network of the Society of International Economic Law (PEPA/SIEL) in collaboration with the International Law Forum and other sponsors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. SIEL’s Postgraduate and Early Professionals/Academics Network (PEPA/SIEL) is, among other things, interested in fostering collaboration and mentoring opportunities for emerging academics and professionals in International Economic Law (IEL). PEPA/SIEL fulfils these goals through various activities such as organising conferences at which emerging IEL academics and professionals can present and discuss their research in a supportive and welcoming environment.