NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 22- East African member states are being urged to fight illegal trade at border points in an effort to encourage speedy implementation of the East African common market.
East African Community Permanent Secretary David Nalo said some members of the union had delayed implementation of resolutions and protocols, as they feared a high influx of illegal goods into their countries that would compete unfavourably.
Mr Nalo however said duties on certain goods were due for elimination as union members crack down on illegal traders.
“What is new and exciting at the Tanzanian border is that there was illegal trade before we started the process of ratification. Information from the Tanzanian Revenue authority is that they have managed to get the traders to follow the right routes,” Mr Nalo said adding they had been assured that no duties would be paid on their goods.
Mr Nalo said a draft anti counterfeit law for the East African Community had been presented to member states to protect genuine traders and enhance trade within the region.
“In the Kenya, the law has been passed and just last week at the East African community level we received a draft legislation which is being looked at,” he said.
He said the speedy adoption of the common external tariff would help push trade volumes between member states.
Statistics from the Kenya revenue authority show that the common external tariff has led to an increase in imports under the three tariff bands, especially under the zero percent tariff band.
Imports under the zero-tariff band were 63.6 per cent (Kenya), 67.9 percent (Uganda), and 57.3 per cent (Tanzania).
Under a single customs union, goods originating in the EAC region shall attract zero import duty. Domestic taxes shall be paid to the importing countries but goods will be subjected to domestic taxes.
The ministry is also conducting an audit of the provisions of the Common Market Protocol with a view of creating seamless execution of protocol amongst members in July.
East African Community Assistant Minster Peter Munya revealed that preliminary results showed that some areas would require administrative and legal reforms.
“These legal reforms can be passed through a miscellaneous amendment bill to facilitate a smooth implementation of the protocol from July 1 2010,” he said.
The full report is expected to be released in May.