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DMCC concludes Made for Trade Live roadshow in India

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry said, “We are happy to partner with DMCC to discuss business opportunities in the UAE for our members in Chennai and Kochi…reports Asian Lite News

DMCC – the world’s flagship Free Zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise – has successfully concluded its Made for Trade Live roadshow in Chennai And Kerala, India, where it highlighted the benefits of doing business in Dubai for Indian companies looking to expand internationally.

The event saw senior DMCC executives address over 300 representatives of the Indian business community from a range of sectors, as well as government bodies. Speakers and delegates discussed the strategic geographic location and commercial appeal of Dubai and the ease of doing business in DMCC, which is the fastest growing and most interconnected free zone in the world. The discussions also focused on opportunities for the UAE and India to enhance bilateral trade and business relations.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC commented, “Facilitating trade, removing barriers to entry and unlocking new business opportunities are critical components of DMCC’s mandate. Dubai and India share an extremely strong and long-standing trade relationship, and India is currently Dubai’s second largest trade partner. And the latest development that solidifies our relations is the UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement – CEPA. The agreement, which came into effect in May this year, looks to boost bilateral trade to 100 billion US dollars in five years, an increase of 66% from the current 60 billion US dollars.”

He added, ‘Through these roadshows, we showcase the unparalleled potential that DMCC has to offer for businesses looking to set up a company in Dubai. While the diplomatic and trade relations between the UAE and India have increased substantially over recent years, there is still a lot more we can do together by supporting exporters and businesses in both countries.”

Held in partnership with the FICCI, the full capacity roadshow event demonstrated DMCC’s deep commitment to businesses in the region and underlined its focus on strengthening trade relations with India across a range of sectors such as Precious Metals & Stones, Technology & Telecom and Financial Services.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry said, “We are happy to partner with DMCC to discuss business opportunities in the UAE for our members in Chennai and Kochi. With the UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement now in place, the commercial outlook for setting up a company in Dubai is high on the agenda for many Indian companies. DMCC, as a leading free zone, would provide these companies with the opportunities to further trade and investment.”

With a rich history of cultural, diplomatic and commercial ties, India is a key growth market for businesses in Dubai and DMCC. India is the second largest trading partner for the UAE and the UAE is the third largest trading partner for India. Both countries have joined forces in many trade and investment pacts in the past decade.

In February 2022, the UAE and India signed the UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which officially entered into force in May. Under the CEPA, both countries expect to boost bilateral trade from USD 60 Billion to USD 100 Billion within the next 5 years. The key products that will immediately benefit from the agreement include oil & gas, petrochemicals, minerals, textiles, agriculture, jewellery and gems, metals and more.

DMCC has played a significant role in enhancing UAE-India relations and is currently home to over 3,530 leading Indian businesses, which use the Free Zone as a hub for trading with countries around the world.  

DMCC’s Made for Trade Live series plays a key role in promoting Dubai as a prime destination for foreign direct investment (FDI). DMCC attracted a record-breaking 2,485 new companies to the free zone in 2021 and reported the highest first quarter of 2022 of company registrations since inception, bringing the total number of member businesses to over 21,000.

For the full DMCC events calendar, please visit: https://www.dmcc.ae/events.

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Panel to promote trade, investment ties with India

From trips across different parts of Britain to visits to India, the India (Trade & Investment) APPG said it will work with diverse stakeholders and encourage beneficial collaborations…reports Asian Lite News

A new cross-party U.K. parliamentary panel has been created to promote trade, investment and people-to-people ties with India, backed up by British Indian think tank 1928 Institute.

The India (Trade and Investment) All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) was formally registered last week as part of celebrations of the 75th anniversary of India’s independence and is made up of 25 members of Parliament and peers of different political affiliations.

With a stated goal to promote trade and investment between India and the U.K. for the mutual betterment of their citizens, whilst building an inclusive living bridge between the two countries, the new APPG hopes to support the ongoing India-U.K. free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations and promote its benefits once concluded.

“Given 75 years of India’s Independence, the creation of an All-Party Parliamentary Group focused on India will set the tempo between the U.K. Parliament and India/Indians,” said Navendu Mishra, Indian-origin Opposition Labour Party MP for Stockport in north-west England and co-chair of the new APPG.

“Investment in people is the best way to ensure economic stability and this APPG intends to benefit the peoples of both the U.K. and India. In particular, I’m looking forward to bringing investment to Stockport and to the Greater Manchester region, both from stronger cultural ties and from utilising the trade agreement,” he said.

“Furthermore, what better way to celebrate the 75 years of Independence then to strengthen the living bridge between the countries and to solidify an equal partnership between these two great nations,” he added.

From trips across different parts of Britain to visits to India, the India (Trade & Investment) APPG said it will work with diverse stakeholders and encourage beneficial collaborations.

“It’s a new chapter in the story of the Indo-British trade partnership and I’ll be working tirelessly to ensure that we get the best possible FTA and that it is utilised after. The group’s establishment coincides with the 75th year of India’s Independence and it will be a parliamentary driving force behind the U.K.-India story in the years to come,” said Lord Karan Bilimoria, Indian-origin businessman and co-chair of the APPG.

“This APPG will be the conduit which not only connects U.K. and Indian policymakers but connects businesses and entrepreneurs to drive growth. The APPG will ensure that dialogue and engagement will cut across all levels of business, particularly encouraging a wider lens on female led business and start-ups,” added Baroness Sandy Verma, the president of the new group.

The APPG is chaired by Conservative Party MP Bob Blackman and includes other Indian-origin parliamentarians as vice-chairs, including Lord Meghnad Desai, Baroness Usha Prashar, Labour MP Virendra Sharma and Tory MP Gagan Mohnidra.

“We are honoured to facilitate the APPG as its Secretariat and look forward to collaborating with diverse partners to champion trade, investment, and development,” said the 1928 Institute, a University of Oxford spinout focussed on Indian diaspora research in the UK.

“We intend to create an energised, inclusive, and pluralistic space to accelerate the improvement of material conditions for all. Our vision spans opportunities from Pembrokeshire to Punjab, and we encourage you to get in touch to help shape this nascent space,” it said.

The new APPG will officially kick-start its activities when Parliament resumes after its summer recess under a new Prime Minister in September.

APPGs are informal, cross-party groups in the U.K. formed by MPs and members of the House of Lords who share a common interest in a particular policy area, region or country and have no official status within Parliament.

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Boris recommits to securing UK-India trade deal by Oct

India’s recently signed economic and trade agreement with Australia has raised hopes in London that Modi is now looking to tear down international trade barriers…reports Asian Lite News

Boris Johnson has confirmed the UK plans to sign a post-Brexit free trade deal with India by October as negotiators prepare for a fresh round of talks this month.

The Prime Minister told MPs today that he was aiming to have the deal completed by the Indian holiday of Diwali as he doubled down on a promise made during his trip to New Delhi in April.

The UK government’s negotiators will travel to New Delhi this month to restart official talks and discuss issues such as India’s large barriers to City of London financial services firms.

The UK is also trying to get India to drop its 150 per cent tariffs on Scotch whisky and other trade barriers on goods like British-made machinery.

A senior source at the Department for International Trade (DIT) said it was “a good sign” India’s government last year softened trade barriers to overseas insurance firms, which has allowed them to increase how much they can invest in the country.

“India has traditionally had a protectionist economy when it comes to services – this is not news,” they said.

“But the fact they’re already moving in the right direction on things like the insurance industry shows there is real momentum when it comes to services and that a deal can be struck.”

Closing a deal with India, the world’s sixth largest economy, is seen as a major prize for the UK post-Brexit, however Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not made trade agreements a priority during his eight-year reign.

However, India’s recently signed economic and trade agreement with Australia has raised hopes in London that Modi is now looking to tear down international trade barriers.

It has been suggested that India’s recent slowdown in economic growth may have changed attitudes within the government about the need to embrace more international trade.

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India seeks stronger steps to curb illegal weapons trade

India also underlined the importance of international cooperation and assistance, particularly support to developing countries in the implementation of these instruments and a fellowship programme for them, the MEA added…reports Asian Lite News

India has pushed for increased national measures to regulate the illegal trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW). It has also called for the creation of a framework for more efficient tracing of illicit SALW as a way to boost the implementation of these instruments.

India presented its stand at the 8th biennial meeting of states on the execution of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and the International Tracing Instrument for Illicit SALW held in New York from June 27 to July 1.

The meeting adopted an outcome document aimed at strengthening the implementation of the Programme of Action as well as the International Tracing Instrument against illicit trafficking of SALW, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Monday.

During the meeting, India emphasized the importance of full and effective implementation of the UN Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument, particularly their significance in dealing with the threat of terrorism as an important global challenge.

According to the MEA, India urged strengthening the implementation of these instruments, including through improved national efforts in controlling illicit trade in SALW, and developing a mechanism for tracing of illicit SALW, to make it more effective.

India also underlined the importance of international cooperation and assistance, particularly support to developing countries in the implementation of these instruments and a fellowship programme for them, the MEA added.

The outcome document of the Eighth Biennial Meeting recognized the adverse effects of illicit arms trade in exacerbating terrorism and emphasized the role of these UN instruments in addressing the threat posed by terrorism. It also affirmed the resolve of States to enforce and apply adequate national controls to the entire lifecycle of SALW. States also agreed to strengthen tracing measures for illicit small arms and explore means for enhancing international cooperation in tracing them with the involvement of the UN.

The meeting considered implications of recent technological developments in the field of SALW, illicit trafficking concerns and ways to address their aggravating effects on the instruments, the MEA said.

Towards the fourth review conference in 2024, the outcome document agreed on a comprehensive analysis of trends, challenges and opportunities in the implementation of these two UN instruments and consider recommendations on their effective implementation. (India News Network)

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Britain launches ambitious trade deal with Gulf nations

British food and drink exports to GCC countries were worth £625 million last year, and a deal could significantly reduce or remove tariffs on UK food and drink exports…reports Asian Lite News

Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is launching free trade negotiations today (Wednesday 22 June) between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

Equivalent to the UK’s seventh largest export market, the GCC bloc’s demand for international products and services is expected to grow rapidly to £800 billion by 2035, a 35% increase – opening huge new opportunities for UK businesses.

A free trade deal would also open the door to increased investment from the Gulf, supporting and creating jobs across the country.

In a visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the Secretary of State will meet the GCC Secretary General, Dr Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, and her counterparts from all six GCC countries, to launch talks expected to culminate in a trade deal worth £1.6 billion more a year to the UK economy.

It is the fourth major set of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations launched by the Trade Secretary this year, following visits to begin talks in India in January, Canada in March, and the launch of negotiations with Mexico last month.

UK Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said, “Today marks the next significant milestone in our 5-star year of trade as we step up the UK’s close relationship with the Gulf. Our current trading relationship was worth £33.1 billion in the last year alone. From our fantastic British food and drink to our outstanding financial services, I’m excited to open up new markets for UK businesses large and small, and supporting the more than ten thousand SMEs already exporting to the region. This trade deal has the potential to support jobs from Dover to Doha, growing our economy at home, building vital green industries and supplying innovative services to the Gulf.”

UK-GCC deal would mean significant benefits for British farmers and producers, as the Gulf is highly dependent on imported food. British food and drink exports to GCC countries were worth £625 million last year, and a deal could significantly reduce or remove tariffs on UK food and drink exports.

Tariffs that could be slashed include cereals, which currently face a tariff of up to 25%; chocolate, up to 15%; baking products, up to 12%; sweet biscuits, up to 10%; and smoked salmon, which has a 5% tariff at present.

With almost £30 billion already invested in each other’s economies, this deal would also help unlock even more opportunities for investment between the UK and GCC countries.

Gulf investments supported over 25,000 UK jobs in 2019 – a number that tripled over the previous decade – and analysis shows the East Midlands, West Midlands, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber will be in line for the greatest proportional gains when the ink dries on a new deal. The deal would also be estimated to boost the economies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by almost £500 million collectively.

Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation, said, “We welcome the launch of free trade negotiations with the Gulf Co-Operation Council, strengthening trade opportunities which will ensure that British manufacturing benefits from future positive flows of goods and services into the Gulf region. It is also extremely helpful that the UK and GCC are committed to work towards seeking the opportunities from ‘green innovation’, which will bring significant opportunities for Britain’s innovative renewable energy companies which are already leading the way in this area of global concern. We look forward to working with government to make sure manufacturers large and small are able to benefit from the business possibilities this deal will open up.”

Around 10,700 small and medium-sized businesses from every UK nation and region exported goods to the GCC in 2020, with SMEs accounting for more than 85% of total UK goods exporters to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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Botham returns to Australia as UK Trade Envoy

Vicki Treadell, British High Commissioner to Australia said, “The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement was the first the UK negotiated ‘from scratch’ since leaving the EU…reports Asian Lite News

Botham will be meeting with a variety of key stakeholders across business and government and will be attending a wide range of events. His programme strongly focuses on tech, innovation and sport which also encompasses the Commonwealth Games. Throughout the duration of his visit he will be promoting the benefits of bilateral trade and investment between the UK and Australia, current and future opportunities.

UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Australia, Ian Botham said, “I am excited to be back on the ground in Australia and I am ready to dive into all things related to UK-Australia trade and investment. This is my second visit already this year and we are making great progress engaging with both business and government across all the sectors our UK teamwork within Australia. I have a very action-packed week ahead so we can continue making progress.”

Trade Envoys are unpaid and voluntary roles created by UK PM Boris Johnson to boost British business in key markets. The UK’s relationship with Australia is a top priority. This is evident from the signing of the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement in December 2021.

Vicki Treadell, British High Commissioner to Australia said, “The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement was the first the UK negotiated ‘from scratch’ since leaving the EU. We are like minded countries. We share the same values, the same language and the same rule of law. Our bilateral trade and investment relationship has continued from strength to strength. This visit will only continue that momentum.”

Louise Cantillon, British Consul General and Deputy Trade Commissioner Asia Pacific (Australia & New Zealand) said, “With an already very successful trade and investment relationship there are growing opportunities for future business and partnerships between the UK and Australia. The UK offers Australian investors a robust and business friendly environment to reliably expand, trade and invest.” The UK is also leading the race to a net zero carbon economy which is seeing an even greater focus on developing sectors like green finance, clean tech, hydrogen, and sustainable infrastructure. With Sir Ian Botham’s visit we hope to engage with the local business community to explore these opportunities and celebrate our successes

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LTW marks new Indo Pacific trade breakthrough for UK

The new UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement comes into force today, deepening ties between Asia and the UK on tech and digital trade…reports Asian Lite News

The UK is marking a major digital trade milestone today as high-tech companies from around the world gather at London Tech Week.

The new UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement comes into force today, deepening ties between Asia and the UK on tech and digital trade.

This means that businesses across the whole of the UK can start taking advantage of the trade agreement, which was signed by the International Trade Secretary in Singapore in February.

The deal will grant UK businesses greater access to Singapore’s digital markets and cut red tape for UK goods exporters, streamlining cumbersome border processes and replacing time-consuming and costly paperwork with e-signatures and e-contracts, the Department of International Trade said in a statement.

It will also lock-in trusted cross-border data flows, the foundation for today’s modern global digital economy, enabling businesses to trade more easily, cheaply, and quickly, it added.

This week also marks the arrival of the largest ever delegation from the fast-growing Asia Pacific region to London Tech Week. Over 350 business and industry figures are joining to explore the benefits of expanding into the UK, thanks to our business-friendly environment and expertise, as well as to seek out investment and partnership opportunities across the nation.

The UK tech sector was valued this year at $1trillion (£764bn). According to new research from Tech Nation, the UK is fourth in the world for tech investment at £32.6bn, having achieved a record year in 2021. Tech plays a significant role as a driver for jobs and economic growth up and down the country. Last year, tech vacancies made up 12% of all available jobs in the UK , with just over 50% of these jobs available outside of London and the South East.

“The UK is one of the leading destinations for foreign investment in Europe, and the third highest investment destination in the world,” said Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone.

“As we continue to strike trade deals with countries and blocs alike across the world, we are poised to unlock the full potential of the tech businesses who choose to base themselves here, providing a platform for global growth.”

Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific Natalie Black CBE said: “Our Asia Pacific Digital Trade Network is the first of its type in the world. Working with Tech Nation, it helps UK tech companies realise their potential in this increasingly important region.

“In the past two years,  we have worked with over 300 businesses on their expansion into the growing Asia Pacific market and I am excited to see the UK tech sector thrive in this region in the years ahead.”

This is the latest demonstration of UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt in action – enhancing ties between the UK and some of the world’s fastest growing markets.

Later this year the UK hopes to secure accession to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – a trade bloc worth almost £9 trillion, putting the UK at the heart of a dynamic group of countries as the world economy increasingly centres on the Pacific region.

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Milling visits Mongolia to boost collaboration in trade

Minister for Asia, Amanda Milling, said, “I was delighted to make my first visit to Mongolia as UK Minister for Asia…reports Asian Lite News

During her visit the Minister focused on areas of UK-Mongolia bilateral relations such as trade and investment, foreign policy issues, climate change and education.

Minister Milling also co-chaired the UK-Mongolia Roundtable Dialogue with the Mongolian Minister of Education and Science and the Foreign Policy Dialogue with the Deputy Foreign Minister. These covered a range of bilateral and international issues.

Minister Milling also met other Ministers and senior officials during her visit. She raised global issues, in particular the importance of international condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Minister welcomed Mongolian humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and urged Mongolia to join the international community’s call to uphold the UN charter in Ukraine and press for an end to the violence. The Minister also discussed continued provocations by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and sought Mongolia’s views on international engagement with DPRK and deterring provocations.

Minister for Asia, Amanda Milling, said, “I was delighted to make my first visit to Mongolia as UK Minister for Asia. I held productive discussions on a range of bilateral and international issues and look forward to strengthening our relationship with Mongolia even further. Seeing the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine and the transformational impact of UK investment was a particular highlight.”

The Minister also had the opportunity to pay a visit to the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in the South Gobi. It is managed by the UK/Australian company Rio Tinto and is the largest investment by a UK company in Mongolia. The mine is the largest employer in Mongolia and a significant contributor to Mongolia’s development. The Minister was able to see the new underground phase and operations across the mine. It is set to be the 3rd largest copper mine in the world when fully on-stream, with amazing potential for UK investment and Mongolia.

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Boris’ India visit likely to propel free trade talks

The visit next week, which is yet to be formally announced by Downing Street, follows the successful completion of four out of 26 chapters in the ongoing India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to arrive in India next week, soon after the long Easter break in the UK, with a state visit that highlights a successful India-UK partnership on the agenda besides a wide-ranging schedule in New Delhi, according to highly-placed Indian government sources.

The visit next week, which is yet to be formally announced by Downing Street, follows the successful completion of four out of 26 chapters in the ongoing India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Johnson are expected to take stock of the negotiations and mandate a timeline for the possible completion of the process, initially set for the end of this year.

According to officials close to the discussions, there has also been significant progress in the remaining 22 chapters of the FTA at the end of the first two rounds of official negotiations, with the third round of talks scheduled for later this month.

The focal point of Johnson’s India visit is expected to be on April 21 and 22, when bilateral discussions and interactions with Indian business leaders are on the cards.

A joint statement, being worked on by both sides, is likely to cover agreements across a variety of sectors, including defence and security and education.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict is likely to feature strongly during the meeting, but officials pointed out that other regional matters such as the situation in Afghanistan and the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt will be high on the agenda of the bilateral visit.

The officials maintain that discussions with the UK over India’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict have remained cordial, with a respect for New Delhi’s hopes of a peaceful resolution through diplomatic means.

Closer defence ties that overcome some legacy issues around technology transfer and make use of the ‘Make in India’ initiative are seen as an important aspect of future India-UK relations, against the backdrop of India’s historic defence equipment ties with Russia.

Modi and Johnson last met in person on the sidelines of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November last year, when their talks during the World Leaders’ Summit focussed on the India-UK climate partnership as well as a review of the 2030 Roadmap the pair had signed during a virtual summit in May 2021.

The Roadmap, which aims to at least double bilateral trade between India and the UK by 2030, has been dubbed a comprehensive agreement that prioritises areas where the two countries are natural partners.

Johnson’s expected visit next week is seen as long overdue, having been cancelled twice before first when he was invited as a chief guest for Republic Day celebrations due to a COVID-19 spike in the UK in early 2021 and then cancelled again as a result of the pandemic situation in India around this time last year.

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UK backs Africa’s continental free trade initiative

The UK is a committed partner in this mission. This UK funding will promote long-term partnerships between African countries and support a more prosperous, greener continent.”…reports Asian Lite News

UK’ International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has announced a new programme to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) trading bloc.

Through the AfCFTA Support Programme, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will provide up to £35m to provide trade facilitation and trade policy support to the AfCFTA Secretariat and Member States through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and other regional partners.

Announcement of the programme comes as AfCFTA Secretariat Secretary General Wamkele Mene visits London to discuss how the UK can continue its work as a strategic partner to the AfCFTA.

 “As an independent free trading nation, the UK strongly supports the AfCFTA – the largest free trade area in the world,” Trevelyan said. “We’re keen to see continued momentum on outstanding negotiations, and on practical implementation of the agreement on the ground.”

“This new aid programme shows that trade is a force for good, and will lead to increased trade, investment, and prosperity for both Africa and the UK,” she added.

As the world’s largest free trade area, the AfCFTA has the potential to boost Africa’s economic growth by driving industrialisation, generating jobs and delivering prosperity across the continent.

For UK businesses, the trade bloc will remove market access barriers by creating a single continental market, making it easier and more cost-effective for UK businesses to export goods and services across the 54 AfCFTA member states.

Minister for Africa Vicky Ford said: “Closer integration between African economies boosts growth across the continent creates opportunities and helps lift people out of poverty.”

“The UK is a committed partner in this mission. This UK funding will promote long-term partnerships between African countries and support a more prosperous, greener continent.”

Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat Wamkele Mene said the UK support ushers Africa into a partnership for strengthening cooperation related to customs and trade facilitation and trade policy across the African continent.

“In the last five years or so, we have seen the re-engineering of our Regional Economic Communities, to take into consideration the aspirations that are embedded in the AfCFTA instruments. We have also witnessed during this period the enthusiasm and the energy of our private sector to rise to the occasion and begin to exploit what is provided for in the Agreement,” he said.

“Our ambition now is to see commercially meaningful trading in ‘Made in the AfCFTA’ products taking place, across the length and breadth of our continent, to create jobs and economic opportunities for Africans, especially women and the youth. We want to make trade easier for the Africans, in particular, our women and young Africans who trade across our borders,” he added.

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