Malawi - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Agreements
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Malawi is a member of the WTO and two regional trade blocs: SADC and COMESA.  Malawi also has bilateral agreements with China, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Botswana.  Under the COMESA Treaty, all goods may be traded among member states under preferential treatment if they satisfy the prescribed rules of origin.  The SADC Trade Protocol calls for the establishment of a SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) that stipulates the gradual elimination of tariffs between member states.  In principle, the SADC FTA took effect in January 2008, but Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia are still implementing their scheduled tariff phase down.  Despite Malawi’s membership in these organizations, intraregional trade has not been a strong component of Malawi’s exports.  At the regional level, Malawi also participates in the COMESA-SADC-East African Community (EAC) Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) negotiations.  The tripartite arrangement is envisaged to harmonize customs procedures, promote free movement of businesspersons, undertake joint implementation of inter-regional infrastructure programs, and establish institutional arrangements to foster cooperation among the regional economic communities.  As a Least Developed Country (LDC), Malawi also benefits from development focused pro-LDC trade agreements such as the E.U.’s Everything but Arms (EBA) and the U.S.’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

At the continent level, Malawi signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement and deposited AfCFTA ratifications to Africa Union in January 2021.  At the multilateral level, Malawi is participating in WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), even though it is yet to ratify the agreement.