AfCFTA Secretariat signs MoU with China for economic cooperation
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, headed by H.E. Wamkele Mene has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on economic cooperation with the People’s Republic of China spearheaded by China’s Ministry of Commerce.
The MoU between the Secretariat and China focuses on intellectual property rights, customs procedures, digital trade, and competition policy. China, in signing the MoU has agreed to share information on its foreign trade and investment facilitation cooperation with the Secretariat.
The move is seen as an enhancement of trade and investment under pre-existing protocols with the AfCFTA Secretariat and the African Union (AU).
Speaking at a virtual ceremony to outdoor the new partnership, H.E. Wamkele Mene, noted that the aspects on intellectual property rights, investment, competition policy and digital trade captured in this new cooperation framework would be particularly critical for the impending AfCFTA Phase II negotiations.
“China has made tremendous progress in the knowledge economy, where innovation is the driver for economic growth and intellectual property is the anchor of innovation. China, therefore, has the experience to support the AfCFTA processes in these key areas” he stated.
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In recent years, China has been the main driver of global growth in IP filings. Filing activity in China grew in 2018 by 11.6% for patents, 28.3% for trademarks and 12.7% for industrial designs. The IP office of China now accounts for 46.4% of patent filings and more than half of global trademark (51.4%) and industrial design (54%) filing activity.
In view of that, H.E. Wamkele Mene, expressed hope that new trading and investment opportunities will be created for both parties in various economic sectors, including agro-processing, automobiles, and financial technology.
“The signing of the Memorandum will also chart the course for a stronger, closer and more longstanding partnership between the AfCFTA Secretariat and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China,” he added.