EABC - ITC SIGN MOU TO IMPROVE CAPACITY TO ADVOCATE FOR REMOVAL OF TRADE BARRIERS

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Arusha, Tanzania: 8th April 2019  EABC partners with the International Trade Centre (ITC) under the 4 year EU-EAC 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. This new partnership will support EABC to improve the capacity of the private sector and trade supporting institutions on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in East Africa in a bid to remove barriers to trade.

“It is 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 Hon. Peter Mathuki, CEO EABC  during the official opening ceremony of the regional training on trade facilitation.

Witnessing the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding is ITC representative, Ms. Victoria Tuomisto who in collaboration with EABC is conducting the Training for Masters of Trainers on Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), that kicked off at EABC Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania.

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.

With provisions to speed up the movement, release and clearance of goods, the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) – which entered into force in February 2017 – represents a viable option to resolve cross-border trade inefficiencies. Under the EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the East African Business Council (EABC) are conducting a training-of-trainers event on the TFA from 8-12 April 2019 in Arusha, Tanzania.

The training aims to build 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 states – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. As a result of this regional initiative, project stakeholders will achieve greater sensitization of EAC trade operators on the need to simplify cross-border trade procedures and to promote better participation of the private sector in public-private dialogue platforms responsible for the implementation of the TFA at the national level. ITC and the EABC look forward to strengthening public-private dialogue and contributing to improving the business climate in East Africa while enhancing the private sector’s ability to address procedural obstacles to intra-regional trade.  This capacity-building initiative is an extension of the efforts undertaken since the entry into force of the TFA in 2017, and is part of a strengthened collaboration between EABC, the EAC Secretariat and ITC through the financial contribution of the European Union.