EABC Worried Over Red Tape in Trade
In the EABC blacklist are arbitrary suspension of commodity exports, continuous application of illegal fees and lack of coordination among border clearing authorities. Export bans instituted by Tanzania and Kenyan ministries of agriculture have, for instance, denied producers access to markets that would otherwise guarantee them higher returns.
In Tanzania, foreign-registered vehicles involved in transporting cargo pay US$500 to Tanzania Revenue Authority on each entry, on top of annual fees of US$600, while in Burundi, goods often undergo tedious clearance procedures with traders having to go through numerous agencies, which include immigration, security, anti-corruption and customs department, among others.
Trade Disputes Spell Trouble
Zambia has now requested the Secretariat of the COMESA to intervene to urgently resolve longstanding disputes with Kenya over the latter’s exports of cooking oils to the country. Lusaka lodged the request during the recently-concluded meeting of the COMESA Council of Ministers. Specifically, Zambia has asked that an independent verification committee of experts be sent to Nairobi to address its concerns over Kenya’s exports of palm-oil based cooking fat to Zambia.
It is the latest in a long series of disputes over non-tariff barriers between the two countries. Zambia has all along insisted that imports into the country of palm-oil based cooking fats from Kenya should be subjected to extra verification and scrutiny to determine whether or not they comply with COMESA’s rules of origin.
Experts Tackle Barriers to Trade
On arrival at Kilimanjaro airport last week, a number of passengers were hounded into a separate room and told they could not enter Tanzania without a yellow fever clearance certificate. It did not matter that some were from the East African Community, which entered a Common Market Protocol on July 1, hence should have relaxed procedures for entry into member states. This incident became a subject during a workshop organised by the Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa, held at the Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute, on the challenges to trade between EAC states. The delegates identified non-tariff barriers (NTBs) among the greatest threats to the success of the Common Market.
New EAC Trade to Boost Relations
Developed countries are increasingly cooperating with the EAC, a sign which is bound to see increased investment and trade in the region. This has been done through assigning special envoys to the region as their representatives to help spur this cooperation. New on the list are Belgian, French and Indian and Canadian envoys, bringing the total number to ten.
The US, Denmark, Turkey, Democratic Republic of Congo, Netherlands and Japan are other countries that have nominated ambassadors to the EAC. The new envoys who presented their letters of accreditation to the EAC Secretary General, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, included: H.E. Paul Jansen (Belgium), H.E. Jacques Champagne de Labriolle (France), H.E. Robert Orr, High Commissioner (Canada), and H.E. Kocheril Velayudhan Bhagirath, High Commissioner (India).
Businesswomen to Benefit from COMESA Training
Businesswomen, including those from Uganda, are set benefit from a training partnership between the International Trade Centre and the COMESA. The training, aimed at enhancing women’s capacity in business competitiveness, was recently conducted in Lusaka, Zambia.
The programme, supported by the Canadian International Development Agency and implemented by COMESA, targets African businesswomen as part of its capacity building for international trade programmes. It aims at enhancing African women’s competitiveness to promote concrete business opportunities in international markets.