Working Papers

Implications of sensitive products exclusions on intra-regional trade: A case study of the East African Community

Implications of sensitive products exclusions on intra-regional trade: A case study of the East African Community

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18 Aug 2016

Author(s): Miriam W. O. Omolo

The objective of the East African Community (EAC) is to deepen the integration process within the Community through liberalisation and promotion of intra-regional trade. The EAC became a fully-fledged customs union on 1 January 2010, and has made strides in deeper integration by ratifying several protocols and agreements in order to achieve its stated goals, including the ratification and entry into force of the EAC Common Market Protocol by all the five EAC partner states on 1 July 2010.

The EAC has also been active in the launch of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) with Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC), as well as being one of eight regional economic blocks to negotiate the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

The objectives of this study are as follows: i) To identify the excluded tariff lines (sensitive list) from the CET for the EAC on a country-by-country basis and to seek the rationale for the exclusions; ii) To track the trade volumes since the customs union protocol entered into force and to analyse the impact of the exclusions on trade; iii) To draw implications of the exclusions on the proposed TFTA and CFTA; and iv) To investigate whether there are any other restrictions on trade within the customs union such as export restrictions as well as whether, and to what extent, tariffs or equivalent charges are still imposed on products traded within the customs union.

The report is organised as follows: section two reviews the sensitive products by country and the rationale for their choice and any other trade restrictions in place, section three provides trends trade and the likely impact of the excluded products, section four draws the implications of the sensitive list on TFTA and CFTA, while section five concludes and provides policy recommendations.

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