ARUSHA, Tanzania, Feb 3 – The East African Business Council (EABC) in partnership with the Federation of German Industries (BDI) has convened trade and policy experts from the EAC Partner States in Arusha, Tanzania; to chart out a joint regional policy advocacy agenda so as to spur business across EAC borders.
Enhancing collaboration and creating synergies among the East African Business Council, National Apex Business Associations and Chambers of Commerce in the regional is important towards informing and harmonizing policy advocacy initiatives that reflect business challenges experienced at national level.
“Voicing barriers and proposing solutions on boosting trade, in one voice as the East African business community reinforces our advocacy efforts towards improving the business environment in the EAC,” said Dr. Peter Mathuki, EABC CEO in his opening remarks.
Dr. Mathuki urged the experts to analyze the implications of new dynamics such as the BREXIT and AfCFTA towards East African businesses and craft solutions on boosting intra-EAC trade to 30 percent. He said concerted advocacy efforts are needed to fast track the finalization of the comprehensive review of the EAC Common External Tariff to boost industrialization and regional value chains.
The regional policy advocacy agenda aims to harness the economic potential of the EAC by analyzing trade and investment barriers blocking businesses to take full advantage of the EAC Customs Union and Common Market.
The experts mention operationalization of the EAC Trade Remedies Committees; harmonization of customs & domestic taxes; elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers; harmonization of Standards & SPS Measures; Open Skies in the EAC; adoption of One Network Area for telecommunication by all EAC Partner States; operationalization of EAC regional customs bond (applicable in the Northern & Central Corridors) and removal of restriction to trade in services are vital towards boost intra-EAC trade and investments.