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The US has imposed several rounds of additional tariffs on Chinese products against China’s violation of intellectual property practices under Section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974. The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has announced that it will open an exclusion process for the 15% additional tariff imposed on products from China on US Section 301 List 4A (Annex B on pages 27-140), which took effect 1 September 2019. This exclusion process will not cover goods on US Section 301 List 4B (Annex D on pages 147-168), which is scheduled to be implemented on 15 December 2019.
What does this mean for the continent and for US SMEs interested in trade opportunities with countries in Africa
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), is set to enter into force on 30 May 2019, given that half of the original signatory countries have completed ratification of the agreement.
The AfCFTA was first conceived by the 55 members of the African Union as a step towards an African free trade area to promote intra-African trade for sustainable economic development and integration into the global economy. The first round of AfCFTA negotiations was held in February 2016, and the final text was signed by 44 countries in Rwanda on 21 March 2018. Eight more countries have since signed the deal. Only 3 countries of the African Union (Benin, Eritrea, and Nigeria), have not yet signed on to the AfCFTA. With the ultimate aim of the single market, the AfCFTA paves the way for a continental wide customs union in the near future that integrates the many existing regional customs unions throughout Africa already in place.