EABC, ITC partner in advocacy of export competitiveness

EAST African Business Council (EABC) has partnered with the International Trade Centre (ITC) to enhance capacity in advocacy for removal of trade barriers and enhancement of export competitiveness.

Under the four-year European Union (EU)- EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP), the new partnership will support the EABC to improve the capacity of the private sector and trade supporting institutions on the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in East Africa to remove trade barriers.

“It is undisputable fact that TFA is increasingly becoming an important tool for countries to improve their business environment through initiation of various trade facilitation reforms,” EABC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Mathuki said during an official opening of the regional training on trade facilitation.

Seeking to build capacity of the East African Private Sector, EABC in collaboration with ITC initiated the regional training of trainers (ToT) programme to widely disseminate standardised training model for the private sector on WTOTFA.

The regional training brought together representatives from the national private sector apex bodies and Trade Supporting Institutions (TSIs) across the EAC region.

TFA came into force in February 2017 after the mandatory two-thirds of the WTO members ratified and notified its acceptance. The objective of the WTO TFA is to lower trade barriers around the world and facilitate expansive global trade.

ITC Representative Victoria Tuomisto who is conducting the training for Masters of Trainers on TFA in collaboration with EAC witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding.

Delays and red tape are among impediments that impede the movement of goods across borders within the East African Community (EAC). Inefficient trade procedures and non-tariff barriers obstruct expansion of intraregional trade and deepened regional integration.

Trade facilitation—simplification, modernisation and harmonisation of export and import processes—has become a key issue for global trade system and regional economic communities like the EAC, to create new thriving opportunities for businesses that operate in regional and international markets.

In his address, Mr Mathuki said that it was imperative to involve the private sector in the implementation and initiation of trade facilitation reforms.

He said the training on TFA will not only keep them at breast with the agreement but also enhance their capacity to effectively advocate for business-friendly trade facilitation reforms in the EAC region.

That will in turn benefit the private sector through easing the cost, time and process of doing business in the region.

“I realise that this training has attracted participants from both public and private sectors across the EAC partner states as well as EAC officials.

The composition of trainees demonstrates the need for stronger partnership between the public and private sectors in executing EAC decisions and especially trade facilitation reforms,” he said, advising the private sector to recognise and appreciate the role by governments of the EAC partner states in notifying and ratifications of WTO TFA.

Source: Daily News