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The Executive Director of the East African Business Council, Hon Peter Mathuki (left), at the media briefing. With him are Kenya's EAC Principal Secretary Dr. Margret Mwakima and Mr. Kenneth Bagamuhunda, the Director General, Customs and Trade at the EAC Secretariat.

All set for High Level Trade Integration Conference in Nairobi

East African Community Secretariat, 24th September, 2019: Nairobi: All is set for the High Level Trade Integration Conference that is due to take place from 25th to 27th September, 2019 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.

Secretary in the Ministry of EAC and Regional Development, Dr. Margret Mwakima disclosed that the conference it was anticipated that the Conference would be attended by more than 300 key players from the East African region, International and Regional Economic Communities, exhibitors, stakeholders and Government officials.

Other participants would be drawn from corporate entities such as telecommunications companies, insurance companies and banks, importers and exporters, national and international transport companies, shipping lines and clearing agents.

Dr. Mwakima other stakeholders expected to attend the conference were International Organizations including the World Customs Organization, World Trade Organization; the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB); United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); International Trade Centre (ITC); UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African Union Commission (AUC) and the International Monetary Fund.

Among the activities at the Conference would be Business to business session/business to Government sessions and an Exhibition.

On his part, the EAC Director General, Customs and Trade, Mr. Kenneth Bagamuhunda said the objective of organizing the High Level Trade Conference was to offer an opportunity to assess the progress, discuss challenges and propose a way forward for the full-fledged Customs Union.

“It also provides a platform to examine the adequacy of the legal, institutional and policy framework, the resource and technological capacity as well as collaboration with the private sector in defining the future of the Customs Union as a pivot integration of EAC,” said Mr. Bagamuhunda.

The DG said that the Trade Conference comes at a time when the EAC Partner States have enhanced trade and access to markets beyond the EAC region. The EAC has entered into multilateral trade negotiations as a bloc particularly on the nascent African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), COMESA, SADC and the US.

Mr. Bagamuhunda said that the Community was at an advanced stage in establishing a tripartite free trade area with COMESA and SADC.

“Besides, the EAC has also signed a trade and investment framework agreement with the USA,” he said.

Speaking at the same occasion, Executive Director of the East African Business Council, Hon. Peter Mathuki said the Trade Conference would be expected to come up with recommendations on policy and strategic direction; strengthen partnerships with key stakeholders especially the private sector on the implementation of the EAC Customs Union; document lessons learnt after 20 years of the integration process, and; practical interventions to address Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs).

Hon. Mathuki urged Partner States to urgently come up with common positions by removing the NTB’s in order to raise the intra-trade among the member state from 12% as currently reported to at least 40%.

 “It is a matter of great concern that inter-regional trade among EAC member states stands at 12 percent whereas trade with other nations is 90 percent,” said Mathuki.

The 2019 Trade Conference is designed to offer an opportunity to assess the progress, discuss challenges and propose way forward for the full-fledged Customs Union. It also provides a platform to examine the adequacy of the legal, institutional and policy framework, the resource and technological capacity as well as collaboration with the private sector in defining the future of the Customs Union as a pivot integration of EAC.

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Simon Peter Owaka
Senior Public Relations Officer
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 768 552087
Email: sowaka [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudna, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001: 2008 Certified


East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org