The European Union is the major export market for goods originating from the COMESA region. In 2016, it was ranked first with total exports from COMESA amounting to US$ 17 billion accounting for 26% of COMESA’s total exports. On the import side the EU was ranked again as number one as the major source of imports to the COMESA region in 2016, to the tune of US$ 40 billion.
There has been steady growth in exports to the EU over the years. The composition of products traded with the EU show that the majority (42%) of our exports to the EU are made up of fuels followed by whereas the bulk of our imports from the EU (67%) are manufactured products. BREXIT or the exit of Britain from the European Union certainly has implications for Africa as a whole and the COMESA region in particular as the EU is our top trading partner. The UK is the second largest population of 65 million people in the EU, following Germany with 81 million people. Brexit could mean that 65 million people may in the long run no longer consume our exports to the EU. Other issues like trade preferences, movement of persons, Aid, Foreign Direct Investment and the uncertainty caused by BREXIT all have implications for the region. Trade is one area where there is potential for significant change in a short amount of time. COMESA exports to UK amounted to US$3 billion in 2016 representing 14 % of total exports to the EU in the same period, this is significant and thus may have an adverse impact on those economies that have a significant percentage of trade with the UK, as a result of BREXIT. On the flip side of the coin there are new opportunities to forge new links and negotiate more beneficial terms of trade through more advantageous trade deals…
For more detailed and in depth information on COMESA and its trading partners go to the Resource Centre on the COMSTAT website and look for our Frequently Asked Tables and Annual Reports.
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