Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern African States (PTA)

Zone d'échanges préférentiels des Etats de l'Afrique de l'est et l'Afrique australe (ZEP)
Zona de Comércio Preferencial para os Estados da Africa Oriental e Austral (ZCP)

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22 Dec 1981, Lusaka (Zambia), under the auspices of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), pursuant to decision of 1st Extraordinary Conference of Ministers of Trade, Finance and Planning, Mar 1978, Lusaka, as elaborated in the draft of a Treaty presented, Jan 1981, to a Joint Meeting of the Council of Ministers of ECA Subregional Office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA Lusaka) and 2nd Extraordinary Conference. Treaty establishing the Preferential Trade Area signed by 9 Member States on 20 Sep 1982, Lusaka, entered into force on 30 Sep 1982. Also known as Eastern and Southern African Preferential Trade Area (ESAPTA) -- Zone d'échanges préférentiels pour l'Afrique orientale et australe. Under terms of a treaty signed 5 Nov 1993, transformed into Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Although SACU member countries which also signed the COMESA Treaty - Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland - were exempt from full COMESA membership obligations until 2 Oct 1997, and COMESA is continuing discussion started by PTA on cooperation or even merger possibilities with Southern African Development Community (SADC), PTA itself ceased to exist on 8 Dec 1994.


Objectives as defined in the 1982 Treaty and its Protocols: Promote cooperation and integration covering all the fields of economic activity, particularly trade, customs, industry, transport, communications, agriculture, natural resources and monetary affairs; raise the standard of living of the people by fostering closer relations among Member States; create a Common Market by the year 2000 in order to allow a free movement of goods, capital and labour within the sub-region; contribute to the progress and development of the other African countries.

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Since its inception, considerable progress has been made in implementing Treaty provisions, including creation of institutions to promote sub-regional development. These include: PTA Tribunal; Trade and Development Bank (TDB), Bujumbura (Burundi); COMESA Clearing House, Harare (Zimbabwe): Federation of PTA Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Lusaka (Zambia); African Joint Air Services (AJAS), Kampala (Uganda); Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia); COMESA Metallurgical Technology Centre (MTC), Harare; PTA Reinsurance Company (ZEP-RE), Nairobi (Kenya); Council of Bureaux on Third Party Motor Vehicle Insurance Scheme; COMESA Bankers' Association (CBA); COMESA Centre for Commercial Arbitration; Federation of National Associations of Women in Business in Eastern and Southern Africa (FEMCOM). Expected to play a major role in coordinating National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) with those of International Agricultural Research Centres (IARC). PTA Authority, at 10th Summit, 30-31 Jan 1992, Lusaka, adopted PTA Trade and Development Strategy which would enable PTA countries to address their problems so as to enhance market integration and economic transformation for sustainable growth. Member States have adopted a phased programme for progressive reduction on tariffs by 10% every 2 years up to 1996, 20% and 30% in 1998 and 2000 respectively. Multilateral cooperation programmes have been established in industry, agriculture, transport and communications. These include complementarity in the production of manufactured goods, food crops, fisheries, livestock and the upgrading and rehabilitation of existing transport and communications facilities. Other programmes include: harmonization of fiscal and monetary policies; investment incentives; road transit charges; third party motor vehicle insurance policies; common customs bond guarantees, procedures and controls; implementation of a Trade Information Network (TINET) and an Automated System of Customs Data (ASYCUDA). Other sectoral and inter-sectoral policies with a view to expediting the process of political and economic integration of the PTA Member States have been put into effect. A comprehensive PTA Food Security Programme is underway, with the establishment of a disaster relief Fund as a major component. The PTA Secretariat organizes trade fairs, conducts buyer/seller meetings on a product-to-product basis and carries out demand and supply surveys for products available in the sub-region.


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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 34 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 5 non-governmental organizations.
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Information Services

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Members in 22 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Resources
    • Resources
  • Transportation, Telecommunications
    • Communications
  • Communication
    • Communication
  • Commerce
    • Money
    • Customs
    • Trade
  • Industry
    • Industry
  • Government
    • Nation State
    • Intergovernmental Communities
  • Agriculture, Fisheries
    • Agriculture
  • Economics
    • Economic
  • Integration
    • Integration

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions



Last News Received

18. Mar 1994
* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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