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Standards, Sanitary and PhytoSanitary Measures

Despite gains made in Strategy 1, intra-EAC trade and exports from the EAC to the rest of the world are still hampered by challenges revolving around standards, technical regulations and meeting SPS measures in key export markets. A recent study in the region by the Overseas Development Institute on the unresolved Non-tariff barriers (NTBs) showed that 24% of all the unresolved NTBs and complaints reported in the time-bound matrix among EAC Partner States relate to the application of quality and safety standards. A majority (60%) of the standards-related complaints concern country-specific product registration, certification, standardisation and testing procedures.

Standards Quality Infrastructure (SQI) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary

Under Strategy one, TMA supported EAC PS to implement a number of trade reforms around the Single Customs Territory (SCT), undertake improvements in trade facilitation infrastructure at ports of Mombasa and Dar es salaam, connecting roads and border posts, improve customs efficiency and harmonisation of trade standards and creation of a reporting framework for non-tariff barriers. TMA also provided hands on assistance in building capacity of its implementing partners to develop project monitoring and implementation frameworks. More importantly, TMA governance model of National Oversight committees and national presence in all the EAC PS provides an opportunity for its partners to proactively engage in programme delivery and affords them ownership and ability to sustain projects on closure.

Results of TMA S1 interventions has been positive. Clearance of cargo along the Northern corridor reduced from 21 days to between 4 to 6 days from Mombasa to Kigali and from 18 days to 3-4 days from Mombasa to Kampala, the time to resolve NTBs related cases reduced from an average of 34 to 8 months per NTB reported, and more than 170 product standards related to 40% of the key top 20 products traded across the EAC region have been harmonized

The Trade Policy Programme overall outcome is supporting the EAC Secretariat and PS to Improved Trade Regulatory Environment and contribute to the reduction of trade barriers and Improved Business Competitiveness in the region.

To achieve this, four interrelated interventions are proposed:

  • Improved harmonisation of trade policies;
  • Improved public and private sector technical capacity in trade policy making and implementation;
  • Enhanced participation of stakeholder in addressing binding constraints to trade; and
  • Enhanced availability of evidence to support inclusive trade policy programming