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USAID boosts East Africa’s adherence to free trade practices

Published on April 05, 2018

The Five EAC Partner States are now among the most participatory notifying members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), according to a report released during the 23rd annual review of implementation and operation of the WTO Agreement on TBT for the period commencing January 1-December 2017. This is a culmination of USAID Hub- supported national stakeholders’ training workshops on how to submit notifications conducted in all the East Africa Community (EAC) Partner States. Notification systems alert WTO members of non-tariff barriers and other trade concerns; adherence to these systems demonstrate a commitment to transparency in trade.

According to the annual review, a total of 2,585 notifications were submitted in 2017, the most notifications submitted in one year since the Agreement went into force in 1995. These notifications were submitted by 82 Members, the highest level of participation in submission of notifications in any year since 1995. There was strong participation by African Members with Uganda emerging as the top notifying member country, globally. It’s the first time an African country has held this position. Tanzania and Kenya were in the top ten of notifying countries.

The WTO Notification Submission System (NSS) is an online notification system used by WTO member countries to submit TBT and SPS updates to the WTO Secretariat. The WTO Agreements on TBT and SPS contain provisions on transparency requirements and procedures. These transparency provisions aim to achieve a greater degree of clarity, predictability and information exchange about trade policies, rules and regulations of WTO members. The NSS system is complementary to the ePing system which the Hub helped implement throughout the EAC region.

Watch the videos below to learn more about the WTO NSS System and the ePing sytem.