•Free trade will commence when crucial criteria are completed, says Customs
Six months after trading officially commenced under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Nigeria and some other countries continue to lag behind, having stalled the process to domesticate trade protocols in line with the implementation of the new trade regime.
With the rules of origin yet to be defined, Nigerian exporters and manufacturers are left in the dark on the next line of action as other countries take national positions in safeguarding local industries and expanding regional agenda.
AfCFTA took off on January 1, 2021, but some nations are yet to fashion out the rules of origin, which is the major aspect of the trade framework.
Though the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), in February, unveiled trading requirements for Nigerian traders under the AfCFTA, while also identifying 89 items that qualify for preferential trade under the deal, the delay in domesticating the treaty remains a challenge for its operationalization.
Specifically, some of the products identified as eligible for preferential treatment under the Protocol on Trade in Goods include live animals, dairy produce, cocoa and cocoa preparations, sugars, and sugar confectionery, beverages, spirits and vinegar, tobacco, wood, and articles of wood, photographic and cinematographic goods, pulp of wood, paper and paperboard, footwear, basic metals, arms and ammunition among others.