The second round of the East African Community (EAC) common market negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya have begun on a bright note, a statement from the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat says.
The statement issued on August 19, from the EAC Directorate of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs says that the negotiators are determined to reach agreement on the EAC Common Market Protocol by December 2008.
“All member countries have been represented by their High Level Task Force (HLTF) as expected and negotiations are proceeding well,” the statement further says.
The Nairobi round of negotiations begun on Monday and will end on Saturday, August 23. At the opening of the talks, the Kenyan Assistant Minister for EAC, Peter Munya commended the HLTF for its arrival at a consensus on a large number of the critical aspects of the common market protocol.
According to the statement, the minister highlighted the significant progress and agreements reached during the first round of the negotiations held in Kigali, Rwanda in April this year.
The Kigali negotiations agreed on the overall negotiation structure as well as specific issues on the preamble, the objectives and principles of the protocol, free movement of goods, persons and labour.
The EAC Deputy Secretary General for Projects and Programmes, Ambassador Julius Onen, reported that Tanzania had endorsed the Kigali deliberations.
The delegates also agreed with the Tanzania position that there was need to ensure that the commitments made by the Partner States under the Customs Union including the elimination of all non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to trade should be implemented, to lay a firm foundation for the Common Market.
Munya suggested that if EAC is to realise the objectives of the common market, negotiators should adopt a positive attitude in shedding off some national interests.