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EABC, ITC to build capacity targeting removal

Posted on April, 9, 2019 at 09:48 am

IN a bid to advocate for removal of trade barriers in East African bloc, International Trade Centre (ITC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with East Africa Business Council to assist with capacity building.

In a statement yesterday, the EABC secretariat said under the MoU, it will partner with the ITC through a four year European Union and East African Community Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) to improve capacity to advocate for the removal of trade barriers, standards and harmonization of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and enhance export competitiveness.

The new partnership will support EABC to improve the capacity of the private sector and trade supporting institutions on the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in the bloc with a target to remove barriers to trade.

“It is an undisputable fact that the TFA is increasingly becoming an important tool for countries to improve their business environment by initiating various trade facilitation reforms,” said EABC’s CEO, Peter Mathuki during the official opening ceremony of the regional training on trade facilitation.

Witnessing the signing of the MoU was ITC’s representative, Victoria Tuomisto who in collaboration with EABC is conducting the training for masters of trainers on the TFA that started in Arusha yesterday.

Delays and red tape hamper the movement of goods across borders for traders. In the East African Community (EAC), inefficient trade procedures and non-tariff barriers represent an obstacle to expanded intra-regional trade and deepened regional integration.

“Trade facilitation – the simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import processes – has thus become a key issue for the global trade system and for regional economic communities, such as the EAC, to create new thriving opportunities for businesses
that are operating in regional and international markets,” the EABC statement stated.

With provisions to speed up the movement, release and clearance of goods, the WTO’s TFA, which entered into force in February 2017, represents a viable option to resolve cross-border trade inefficiencies, the statement added.

The training is aimed at building the capacity of local trade professionals to understand the provisions of the agreement and empower business support associations and traders to address cross-border trade inefficiencies efficiently and advocate for their removal. Additional TFA trainings will then be replicated autonomously in every EAC member nation in future.

Source: IPP Media