Earlier this month, stakeholders recommended that the East African Standards Committee (EASC) approve the ICT monitoring tool developed by the USAID Hub to measure EAC Partner States’ compliance with commitments under different technical barriers to trade (TBT) legal instruments. The regional validation workshop, held in collaboration with EAC Secretariat, took place in Arusha, Tanzania from July 3-5, 2019. The 18 participants also agreed that National Enquiry Points and National Notification Authority officials from the EAC Partner States should further test the tool and provide feedback for the tool’s finalization.
The USAID Hub and the EAC Secretariat are working together to create an ICT monitoring tool that will measure EAC Partner States’ implementation of regional and international legal agreements. During the experts meeting to draft the 3rd Regional TBT Workplan 2017/18 in October 2017, it was observed that EAC Partner States varied in their level of implementing and administrating the TBT Agreement and other regional legal instruments. There were also differences in the countries’ responses to notifications and trade concerns raised by other members. It was against this background that the Partner States agreed to develop an ICT tool to monitor the development, notification and implementation of standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures. The tool will identify compliance gaps, allowing stakeholders to pinpoint areas for improvement and focused efforts.
The tool’s development was originally approved at an EASC meeting in April 2018. Following the EASC’s approval of the tool, as recommended during the meeting held this month, it will be handed over to the EAC Secretariat. While it does not include sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, it is intended to serve as a model for the SPS Agreement as well which will enhance the EAC’s compliance with the U.S.-EAC Cooperation Agreement, WTO TBT Agreement and EAC Standardization, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing (SQMT) Protocol/Act.