Zambia has called for transparency in the negotiations of tripartite free trade area amongst the 26member countries of the common market for eastern and southern African community countries stating that this will foster trust and confidence within each other member states.
Currently the tripartite region of COMESA comprises 26 countries nearly half membership of the African union with a combined gross domestic exceeding $1trillion based on 2010 figures with a population of over 600million people.
Commerce, trade and industry minister Robert sichinga has explained that transparency is one of the cardinal principles of the tripartite FTA negotiations hence there is need to exchange the necessary information and data and be open with one another.
He says the tripartite free trade area even before it is established has begun setting the pace for Africa integration adding that it is being carefully scrutinized by stakeholders in member states and beyond.
Mr. Sichinga has stated that there is need to keep the principle of acquis at the fore as the negotiations are currently going and this will enable the tripartite countries achieve the FTA on time as it recognizes the achievements and takes due account of the challenges that COMESA, EAC and SADC have experienced.
He noted that the member countries under the COMESA tripartite free trade area has only a few months before the expiry of the preparatory phase and the commencement of fully fledged negotiations.
Mr. Sichinga was speaking today when he opened the second meeting of the tripartite trade negotiations forum in Lusaka today.