In effect, it will be as if the Union is trading as one country with the rest of the world. As part of the transformation, Customs administrative procedures will be harmonised and the East African Community (EAC) Customs Management Act will render all other regional Acts that have been in force for each country redundant. Substantial benefits are expected to be shared by the commerce and industry of these countries once they trade as one bloc.
In January 2005, the East African countries took their first steps towards a new Customs Union (CU) with the enactment of the Customs Management Act. The road has not been smooth but the Union is expected to be fully mature by 2010. Rwanda and Burundi have also joined the bloc. We may now anticipate that soon, businesses in the five countries will be able to interact (at least in terms of Custom Duty) as if they were in one country. The common internal tariff will be uniform for union members while they will charge the same common external tariff to countries trading with the Union.