On June 22, Burundi’s National Assembly adopted draft law on the ratification of the East African Community Protocol on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures (EAC SPS Protocol) pursuant to Section 8 of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act, 2012, essentially signaling the country’s approval of EAC SPS Protocol. This follows a high-level awareness raising meeting convened by the Hub in March 2017, in partnership with the Burundi Bureau of Standards and Quality Control (BBN). The meeting specifically aimed at raising awareness on EAC SPS Protocol and the need to support and fast track its ratification in the country. (Please also refer to this link: http://www.assemblee.bi/Analyse-et-adoption-du-Projet-de,1525 – note that it is in French)
The protocol harmonizes regional measures that align the EAC Partner States with each other and with global markets, ensuring easier trade. The measures seek to protect human and animal life from risks arising from additives, contaminants, toxins or disease causing organisms in their food. The measures, which also take into account plant life, seek to mitigate damage to a country from the entry, establishment or spread of pests, diseases or disease causing elements. The EAC SPS Protocol is expected to promote trade in food and agricultural commodities and strengthen the application of a harmonized approach for implementation of SPS measures and activities.
With the Parliaments ratification, the next stage will be to forward the protocol’s instruments of operation to the Ministry responsible for EAC affairs, and then to the EAC Secretariat. Burundi now joins Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda as the EAC Partner States that have ratified the SPS Protocol. Next steps for the Hub include supporting Tanzania to ratify the EAC Protocol on SPS.
The second EAC Common Market Scorecard (CMS) 2016 which evaluates implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol was launched on Friday in Kampala, Uganda by the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration, Hon. Jesca Eriyo.
The Scorecard was developed over a period of 18 months under the supervision of the EAC Secretariat and Partner States. The areas of capital, services and goods were selected for scoping as they are fundamental to the operations of the Common Market.
Addressing the participants at the launching, the EAC Deputy Secretary General stated that “a number of reforms have been undertaken since the 2014 CMS. These have brought the total number of non-conforming measures (NCMs) down from 63 in 2014 to 59 in 2016.’’ Read more. Source | East African Business Times
Lack of information to local, regional and international markets is one of the biggest challenges small agro-food suppliers are experiencing, thereby missing out on contracts offered by large retail outlets and hotel chains.
In trying to close this gap, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) business council (CBC) through a ‘Local Sourcing for Partnerships Project (LSP) training phase two, will teach small suppliers on how to access these markets.
According to Ms Sandra Uwera, the CBC executive director, the second training phase which is on at Kampala Serena Hotel today, Friday, will see selected suppliers be mentored on closing these market gaps. The programme is supported by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda. Read more. Source | Daily Monitor
Regional governments have been urged to invest in capacity building of technocrats involved in international trade negotiations to enhance their skills and ensure they bargain for deals that will benefit citizens.
According to Henry Kimera of Consumer Food Education Trust (Uganda), with commercial oil and gas deposits being confirmed in almost all the six East African Community (EAC) countries, government must sharpen negotiation skills of technocrats so that they are able to negotiate better deals to ensure maximum benefit for countries. Kimera added that most regional technocrats negotiate from a point of weakness since they are not well-versed with international trade negotiation. Read more. Source | New Times
The African Union (AU) believes it could achieve its Agenda 2063 goal of a prosperous and technologically-advanced continent at peace with itself if leaders speed up the process of integration and adopt the continental Free Trade Area proposals.
This comes as AU leaders opened their 25th Ordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State Summit, in Johannesburg, on Sunday night, with pledges to do more to promote unity on the continent, accelerate the implementation of the first years of Agenda 2063 blue print, fight terrorist groups like Boko Haram, address African migrants crisis and fight diseases like Ebola.
The theme of the summit is “a Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa's Agenda 2063" and is dedicated at placing attention on the development of women on the continent.
Although the official opening ceremony of the summit started several hours late, when it eventually began at around 4pm, leaders wasted no time and spelled out their plans for the continent challenged by poverty, diseases and under development. First to speak was President Jacob Zuma who used his address to call on leaders to address the scourge of conflicts which has escalated to terrorism. Read more. Source | South African News.gov.za
The East African Community will roll out improved Customs Union Rules of Origin in the next fiscal year, promising a better future for cross-border trade.
The EAC Customs Union Protocol, which came into force in 2005, provides for the rules of origin, but since its inception, the business community has been complaining about its applicability.
“It is our expectation that the new rules of origin will spur intra-EAC trade as they are more flexible for the private sector to comply with compared with the former ones,” said Adrian Njau, a trade economist at the East African Business Council. Read more. Source | East African
The leaders of 26 African countries gathered in Egypt on Wednesday to sign a new trade pact to create a common market across half the continent that will serve 625 million people.
The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) will cap five years of negotiations to set up a common framework for preferential tariffs that will ease the movement of goods across member countries.
The signing will take place at a summit hosted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where negotiators finished drafting the deal this week. Read more. Source | East African
The leaders of 26 African nations have been laying the groundwork for an African Free Trade Union in the resort of Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt.
Behind closed doors ministers of the three African economic blocs: the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the South African Development Community (SADC), and the East African Community (EAC) have been discussing the deal that is expected to be signed on Wednesday (June 19).
The merger of the three groups will see a trade zone that expands from from Cairo to Capetown representing 60 percent of the continents GDP and 52 percent of its population. Read more. Source | Euro News
Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) (AFP) – Senior African officials negotiating a trade deal in Egypt to create a common market across half the continent said Monday the pact was ready to be signed.
The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) spanning 26 countries is to be launched at a summit of heads of state and government on Wednesday in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The pact aims to set up a common framework for tariff preferences that would ease the movement of goods across the area’s member countries.
The deal between the East African Community, Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa would create a market with a population of 625 million and gross domestic product of more than $1 trillion (900 billion euros).
“The deal is complete and ready to be signed by heads of state on Wednesday,” Peter Kiguta, the director general of the East African Community, told AFP.
Trade ministers and officials gathered in the resort town from Sunday had worked out final concerns, including the management of disputes and protection for small manufacturers, he said.
“All issues have been sorted out. Some technicalities remain but the overall agreement is now complete,” Kiguta said. Read more. Source | Atlanta Black Star
The East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) has passed two crucial bills to facilitate free trade among East African Community member states.
The bills will, however, have to be approved by the EAC heads of state before they can become law.
Once they become law, the two pieces of legislation will compel partner states to eliminate barriers that have hindered smooth trade in the region.
One of the laws, Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers Bill 2015, seeks to establish a mechanism for identifying and monitoring the removal of non-trade barriers within partner states.
Its passage comes against the backdrop of a surge in trade disputes arising from administrative measures deemed to be harmful to free trade in the region.
The other proposed law, East Africa Community (EAC) Co-operative Societies Bill 2014, gives guidelines on the formation of co-operative societies as well as rights and duties of members. It also sets out rules on dispute settlement and dissolution of societies. Read more. Source | Standard Digital