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Local electrical and plastic product manufacturing industries will be affected severely if Ethiopia decides to eliminate tax completely on imports from COMESA member states, according to research presented at the eleventh annual International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy.
The conference, organized by the Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA) in association with Ethiopian Strategic Support Program II (ESSP II) of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) IFPRI-ESSP II, was held from July 18 – 20 2013.
The paper, entitled ‘The Impact of Joining the COMESA FTA on The Ethiopian Economy: The Case of the Manufacturing Industry’ by Yasmin Wohabrebbi, further states that Ethiopia will lose almost three percent of the total tariff revenue that would have been collected from trade with COMESA member states if it joins the COMESA Free Trade Area.
Nevertheless, the research further states “this policy measure (if Ethiopia decides to completely eliminate tariff from COMESA member states) will bring welfare gains to the consumers”.
The research also suggests that the major sources of revenue loss and consumers’ gain will focus on manufacturing products. “This gradual liberalization will also bring negative effect on textile and leather manufacturing industries but these two industries have relatively the potential to withstand their competitors in the COMESA market unlike those of electrical and plastic manufacturing industries,” the report says.
The research also suggests that the government should make some policy measures: “the measures that need due consideration includes improving the supply side constraints, broadening the tax base and enhancing competitiveness of domestic firms through different incentive packages.”
The annual conference is an event where research papers on the Ethiopian Economy are presented. The papers are prepared by individual researchers and partner institutions. These conferences are attended by policy makers, NGO representatives, experts from government ministries and other organizations, academicians and researchers from different universities and international organizations. More than 70 research papers were presented during the three day conference.
Since its formation, the Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA) has been engaged in conducting research; organizing annual conferences; round table discussions; and publishing journals, magazines and books on various aspects of the Ethiopian economy.