Should the Kenya-United States Free Trade Agreement be concluded, it would violate Article 37 of the Protocol on the Establishment of the East African Customs Union. Article 37 requires a Partner State to notify the EAC of a new trade agreement even when there is merely a proposed trade agreement. Article 37 of the Protocol requires that Partner States notify the other Partner States before offering a third-party preferential market access since Partner States share a common Customs territory.
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
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 Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA is far more than just a trade agreement. It embodies long-held aspirations for an integrated Africa which, in the words of Ghana’s first Prime Minister and President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, would be better equipped to “tackle hopefully every emergency, every enemy and every complexity.” As one of the flagship projects of the AU’s Agenda 2063, the free trade initiative is envisioned as a pathway to an African renaissance in both economic and cultural terms. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the AfCFTA could integrate 55 African Union (AU) member states in a market of about 1.2 billion people with an estimated gross domestic product of US $ 2.5 trillion. Moreover, the area is expected to reflect the continent’s “common identity by celebrating our history and our vibrant culture.”
This symposium, comprising six contributions, presents case studies of the existing plant variety protection systems in Africa, complexities around introducing new systems as well as the interlinkages between plant variety protection, human rights and traditional knowledge.