The Hub recently partnered with the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service and the Kenya National SPS Committee to host a sensitization workshop on the proposed East African Community (EAC) Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Protocol. The workshop targeted stakeholders from the public sector, including legislators, involved in the ratification process of the proposed EAC SPS Protocol in Kenya. Thus far, only Uganda and Rwanda have ratified the Protocol. All Partner States are required to ratify the Protocol before it takes effect.
The Hub supports the implementation of the EAC-U.S. Cooperation Agreement on Trade Facilitation, SPS and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), which was signed in February 2015. A major component of this is helping EAC Partner States to meet their obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) SPS Agreement.
The primary objective of the EAC SPS Protocol is to adopt and enforce SPS measures that minimize negative effects on trade. The Protocol harmonizes regional standards that align the EAC Partner States with each other and with global markets, ensuring easier trade. Here are a few take-aways from the workshop:
- The EAC SPS Protocol seeks to operationalize aspects of the EAC Protocol dealing with cooperation among Partner States in trade of agricultural commodities
- The ratification and full implementation of the EAC SPS Protocol will enable harmonization of food health standards and enhance safe trade of agricultural commodities in the EAC
- This will further boost intra-regional trade, which is largely comprised of trade in agricultural produce
- Harmonizing standards will also enhance the EAC's capacity to access international markets by having the region adhere to a common set of rules that enable them to pool produce from multiple Partner States to meet external demand
As a result of the workshop, legislators expressed their commitment to fast-track the process of ratification in Kenya, moving the region a step closer to implementation of the protocol.