The Protocol on the Establishment of the EAC Customs Union was concluded and signed in 2004 and implementation commenced in January 2005. Following the completion of the transition period for the Customs Union implementation, in April 2012, the Summit in principle adopted the Destination Model (DM) where goods are verified and released at the first point of entry after assessment and payment of taxes have been made in the destination country. Furthermore, a High-Level Task Force (HLTF) was established to develop a framework outlining key pre-conditions for implementing the destination model under the Single Customs Territory (SCT).
The Single Customs Territory is aimed at improving the trade environment and creates competitiveness of the goods traded in the region through removal of internal border controls and documentation; minimisation of costly processes that delay movement of goods; and institutionalising a regional mechanism for the administration of customs operations by merging hitherto five customs territories of the five Partner States.
In Strategy 1 TMEA’s support was focused on strengthening the operations of the Customs Union working towards the establishment of the Single Customs Territory (SCT). The project covered a number of activities including operationalization of TWGs who developed the framework for the development of ICT systems and business procedures, validation and quality assurance of the systems and processes; conducting a Time-Release Study; hiring ICT and Business Process Expert.
The momentum generated by the decision to accelerate the creation of a Single Customs Territory, starting with the Northern and Central Transport Corridors, needs to be sustained. The greatest gains in import/export turnaround times have come from adoption – by willing Partner States – of efficient trade facilitation tools, such as customs management systems, electronic Single Windows, Authorized Economic Operator schemes, Non-Tariff Barriers monitoring, and Electronic Cargo Tracking systems. In its Strategy II, TMEA will continue to provide targeted, strategic support to the EAC with the objective of catalyzing and sustaining the integration momentum, in the conclusion of the Customs Union (Single Customs Territory), and thus contributing to ease of doing business.
TMEA will provide the EAC with a Technical Advisor for technical support in the implementation of the project; and facilitate Technical Working Groups in the implementation of the SCT.
Myra Deya, Senior Programme Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Effective and efficient operationalization of the Single Customs Territory to increase growth of Intra- EAC trade