Certificate of origin required by AfCFTA agreement to be implemented as of January 16, 2023

The certificate of origin required by the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will be implemented as of January 16, 2023, the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX) announced on Saturday, citing the Ministry of Trade and Export Development.

This certificate will be initially issued by the Tunis Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIT) before being generalised to the other chambers of commerce and industry (CCI).

According to the Ministry of Trade, this certificate, which is a key component of the free trade agreement negotiations, serves to prove the origin of goods to meet customs or trade requirements and attests that they originate in Tunisia.

Actually, Tunisia joined the Guided Trade initiative launched on October 7, 2022 by the AfCFTA Secretariat on the occasion of the 10th Meeting of the Council of Ministers in charge of trade of countries adhering to this agreement, held on October 7-8 2022 in Accra, Ghana.

Tunisia is one of the first 8 African countries (Egypt, Ghana, Cameroon, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Mauritius) that are preparing to launch the AfCFTA under this initiative, the Ministry of Trade said, indicating that this initiative aims to boost trade between these countries and to facilitate intra-African trade.

This Ministerial Directive of The 7th Meeting of the AfCFTA Council of Ministers responsible for Trade, on 10th October 2021, provided a legal basis for the countries that had submitted their tariff schedules in accordance with the agreed modalities to trade preferentially amongst themselves. However, as commercially meaningful trade had not commenced under the AfCFTA, the AfCFTA Secretariat embarked on a solution-based approach in the form of an AfCFTA Initiative on Guided Trade.

The Guided Trade Initiative intends to achieve its goal through matchmaking businesses and products for export and import between these interested State Parties in coordination with their national AfCFTA implementation committees.

The specific objectives of the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative are to allow commercially meaningful trading under the AfCFTA; test the operational, institutional, legal and trade policy environment under the AfCFTA; and send an important positive message to the African economic operators.

To this end, Tunisia had already tabled the preliminary offer with the AfCFTA Secretariat and set up an ad hoc committee comprising representatives of the stakeholders (Ministries of Trade, Transport and Foreign Affairs, the BCT, Customs, the UTICA, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tunis, etc.).

The AfCFTA has been in force since May 30, 2019 and aims to create the largest free trade area in the world with the potential to bring together more than 1.2 billion people with a GDP of over $2.5 billion.

Tunisia officially joined the AfCFTA on July 22, 2020.

Source: Tap News Agency

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