The two day East African Business Council (EABC) retreat that is being hosted by Rwanda is aiming at addressing major hindrances that affect business among the bloc.
EABC is a forum that seeks to promote private sector’s regional and global competitiveness in trade and investment with a view of boosting the economy.
“This retreat comes at the right time given the full implementation of the customs union where tariffs for products originating from the region are zero,” said Monique Mukaruliza Rwanda’s minister for East African affairs.
Mukaruliza pointed out some of the challenges that should be addressed by the council and they include eliminating the Non-Tariff Barriers faced by traders, access to both regional and outside markets.
Non-tariff barriers to trade (NTB’s) are trade barriers that restrict imports but are not in the usual form of a tariff. Some common examples of NTB’s are anti-dumping measures and countervailing duties, which, although they are called “non-tariff” barriers, have the effect of tariffs once they are enacted.
“Although not a lot has been done about the non-tariff barriers, at least the bureaucracy at Mombasa and Dar el salaam has reduced with the clearing of goods done online which is a positive move for traders,” explained Mukaruliza.
The business council will help to strengthen the Rwandan businesses as well as make them more competitive in the region.
According to Faustin Mbundu, the chairperson of EABC, the objectives of this retreat is to look at the structures of the council to assess whether they are delivering and strengthening as well as deepening the integration.
The retreat will also seek to design and implement polices and iron out policies that are not predictable in the perspective of the private sector.
All the five member states from the bloc have sent four representatives each to this retreat.