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What Trade War? Africa Sidesteps Tariffs, Starts Free-Trade Pact

  • African continental free-trade agreement takes effect
  • Deal will eventually cover a market with 1.2 billion people
Belt And Road Initiative Bolsters China’s Africa Ties
Photographer: Luis Tato/Bloomberg
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Africa, largely ignored in a U.S.-China trade war that could roil economies worldwide, is quietly piecing together the world’s largest free-trade zone.

The African Continental Free Trade Area comes into force on paper on Thursday after the required 22 countries ratified the deal a month ago. Once it’s passed by all 55 nations recognized as part of the African Union, it would cover a market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion.