Parliament is in the process of ratifying an agreement to establish a tripartite free-trade area that will bring 26 African countries into a single market governed by preferential free-trade arrangements.The agreement was ratified by the select committee on trade and international relations of the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday and will be considered by the portfolio committee on trade and industry of the National Assembly in two weeks time.So far 22 countries have signed the agreement which was launched in Egypt in June 2015 with SA signing in July 2017. It will enter into force once it has been ratified by 14 member states. So far only Egypt and Uganda have ratified it.The agreement is built on the three existing trading blocs: the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the East African Community (EAC).The countries included in the tripartite free-trade area — seen as a critical driver of regional i...

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