EAC sets guidelines to ease regional trade

The East African Community (EAC) has detailed measures to ease the movement of goods and people in the regional bloc.

The East African Community (EAC) has detailed measures to ease the movement of goods and people in the regional bloc.

In a statement issued early this week by the EAC Secretariat, the Secretary General Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, said that the Customs Union launched in 2005 had created a conducive environment for increased trade and free movement of goods and persons among member states.

The EAC plans to have a Common Market by 2010.

Mwapachu said partner states have already agreed a substantial number of measures which, if well applied, should vastly ease customs and trade flow within the East African region.

Some of the new measures are the removal or easing visa requirements, import duties and declaration fees. The restrictions applied by some border officers in the partner states has in the past been causing frustrations to the business community and hindering cross-border.

The elaborations on free movement of people under the common market echoes President Paul Kagame’s promise to waive work permits in order promote free movement of labour in the region. This was during a Commonwealth business summit in Uganda last November.

Mwapachu also called upon the immigration, police and revenue authorities at the EAC borders to get on the frontline in the effort to promote cross-border trade and free movement of persons in the region.

He therefore urged authorities at border posts to constantly update themselves on the decisions of the EAC Council of Ministers concerning cross-border trade and movement in order to ensure compliance with and effective implementation of the decisions.

The decisions are communicated through the EAC Gazette and the circulars issued by the relevant Ministries of the Partner States.
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