• A slow pace of negotiations cannot deliver effectively the expected results.
• Move the TIS agenda to the next level by removing restrictive practices.
• It will place the COMESA Free Trade Area regime among the few in the world.
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) says negotiations on COMESA Trade-In-Services (TIS) liberalization programme has been lagging, even though trade liberalization is a continuous process.
COMESA Assistant Secretary General, Dr. Kipyego Cheluget noted that, “trade in services accounts for more than 70 per cent of the global output and 51.1 per cent of labour force and thus playing a significant role in the COMESA economies.”
“A slow pace of negotiations cannot deliver effectively the expected results and within the given time- frames.” he said.
Dr. Cheluget proposed to move the TIS agenda to the next level by removing restrictive practices that stand on the way of trade liberalization.
He also proposed on finding alternative solutions to harness the benefits of liberalized services in the region.
According to Dr. Cheluget, this would guarantee preferential market access for regional businesspersons in both goods and the negotiated services sectors.
He explained this would enable regional businesses and suppliers to expand and strengthen existing value chains as beyond-the-border barriers in services are being dismantled.
Furthermore, Dr. Cheluget stated that advancement of negotiations on TIS was also expected to reflect the commitment of COMESA towards creation of a transparent, stable, and predictable environment for trade in services in the region and in global markets.
He emphasized that, it would place the COMESA Free Trade Area regime among the few in the world that guarantee its membership preferential market access for both goods and services.
Dr. Cheluget was speaking during the 12th meeting of the Committee on Trade in Services (TIS) whose key mandates include trade negotiations amongst Member States.
According to COMESA, the recommendations from the Committee meeting would be presented to the COMESA Intergovernmental Committee and the Council of Ministers meeting scheduled next month (November).