Ambitious plans promise surge in African commerce

The African Union meets in Johannesburg, South Africa. Credit:

When the US, Japan and 10 other economies recently sealed the deal on a vast new Pacific Rim trading bloc, they made front page headlines around the world.

With good reason. After more than a decade of somnolence, international trade negotiations are waking up again with some experts hailing the dawn of a new era of trade liberalisation.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership concluded in October is the biggest trade agreement negotiated in two decades. It is also far from alone on the agenda. Negotiations are under way between the EU and US over a transatlantic pact. Talks over liberalising the global market in services and environmental goods are also making progress.

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