Thursday, 22 March 2018

African Union Trade Agreement

Something very exciting has been happening in Kigali this week.

Leaders from across Africa were here for a special meeting of the African Union.

It caused a few traffic jams as major roads were closed to all but delegates.

But, on the upside, an extremely interesting deal was being struck, which could be an absolute game changer for businesses such as ours.

The idea is to create an AU trade bloc, much like the EU.

Import and export weren't specifically mentioned in the articles, but the principle of the EU is:

Goods that have been produced in the European Union (EU), or that have been imported into an EU country with duty paid, are 'in free circulation' within the EU. Customs duty is not payable on acquisitions (imports or purchases) of goods that are in free circulation. - website

That would be absolutely incredible if the AU followed suit. For example, we saw a beautiful old grand piano in Congo, but getting it to Kigali could cost a bit in import duty. If the whole of Africa scrapped trade borders, we could pop it on the back of a truck and bring it here to refurbish.  

It would also mean that any pianos we do produce would be cheaper for people in neighbouring countries like Uganda and Tanzania to purchase, because it would only require the cost of transport. It would make it easier to hop over and tune a piano or two, too. 

There's a whole world of possibility here.

Ten countries currently need convincing, including Nigeria, which has the biggest economy on the continent, and it hasn't been ratified yet, but we're really hoping this goes through. It would be a major boost to business.

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