PUBLISHED ON January 19th, 2015

Non-tariff barriers dog EAC

The East African Community (EAC) has been advised to set a target for intra-EAC trade growth for this year of 15% by promptly eliminating Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs).

Peter Kiguta, the Director General Customs and Trade at the EAC Secretariat was speaking at the 16th EAC Regional Forum on NTBs held recently.

He suggested the Chairpersons and Co-Chairpersons of National Monitoring Committees (NMCs) to exchange their contacts in order to redress NTBs when reported instead of waiting for the Regional Meetings.

He said the share of the intra-EAC has continued to decrease over the years recording less than 12% growth in 2013 compared to 2008 when it recorded 12% growth.

“This calls for measures to be put in place to redress the decline which include elimination of NTBs affecting Intra-EAC trade as the EAC Partner States were trading with the rest of the at 88% compared to the European Union which was trading at 2% and Asia at 40%,” Kiguta said.

Kiguta underscored that this scenario has led to loss of revenue which is needed to finance infrastructure and other socio-economic projects and the exportation of jobs.

He further informed the meeting that the 30th Meeting of the Council had adopted the draft NTBs Bill and forwarded it to the East African Legislative Assembly for enactment into the law, it is expected that to complement the work of National Monitoring Committees and the EAC Regional Forum on elimination of NTBs.

Kiguta further said that the implementation of the one stop Border Post and the EAC Single Customs Territory will reduce the cost of doing business in the region thus boosting the Intra-EAC trade.

Kiguta commended Trade Mark East Africa (TMA) for their continued support to the EAC integration process and that his expectation was that the partnership will continue to grow stronger in future.

Speaking earlier, Jose Maciel Director, NTBs and Standards, TMA confirmed to the meeting that TMA was happy to partner with the EAC Secretariat in supporting the initiatives which will provide the EAC region with tools to effectively and efficiently eliminate NTBs in the region in order to boost Intra-EAC trade.

According to the Report of the meeting, the United Republic of Tanzania, with assistance from TMA is in the process of developing the National NTBs Strategy to assist in enhancing coordination efforts of addressing NTBs issues at the National level.

The experts’ meeting to develop a concept note and Terms of Reference for procurement of consultant was held in October 2014. In addition, Tanzania is conducting a study to assess the impact of selected NTBs on trade aimed at informing the government on appropriate decision making.

Source: East African Business Week

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