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National Monitoring Committees on NTBs
PSF workshop with businesses on implications of EAC Single Customs Territory
 
Posted on : 23 - Jul - 2012 - Viewed : 46 times

The first Consultative Workshop with the private sector on EAC integration was held today,26th June, 2012 at the Hilltop hotel in Kigali. The workshop was organized by the Private Sector Federation (PSF) under the title : “Towards an EAC Single Customs Territory (SCT) : the Implications for Rwanda’s Private Sector”. In the opening statement of Mr. Gerard Mukubu, PSF’s Chief Advocacy Officer emphasized the role of PSFs in assisting Rwandan companies to prepare for challenges and opportunities of the fast developing regional market.
The workshop was attended by over 20 business people from the companies involved in trade logistics, insurance and financing. In the presentation delivered by Mr. John-Bosco Kanyangoga, expert from Trademark East Africa (TMEA), the businessmen had a chance to learn about the preliminary results of a study conducted by the PSF on options and conditions for development of EAC Single Customs Territory and their implications for Rwanda’s businesses involved in regional and international trade.

Establishment of the SCT would enable all foreign goods, once the import duties are paid at their entrance to the EAC, to freely circulate between the member countries in the same way as the goods produced in the region. This will considerably simplify the trade logistic and lower the cost of trade, but also force the companies from the region to increase competitiveness and adapt to higher production standards.

In a very dynamic discussion following the presentation, the business people expressed a concern about the dynamics of the change and the lack of information about how various sectors may be affected. More information about the policy measures of the government to enable gradual transition to a more competitive regional environment will be required. As one of the smallest counties in the region with the least diversified production, Rwanda is particularly vulnerable to external competition.

For this reason the government and the private sector will have to closely cooperate so that the transition cost is minimised and the business more benefit from the large EAC market and the region without borders.

At the end of the workshop the participants were asked to participate in a short survey about their understanding and particular concerns related to EAC integration and the SCT. The results of the survey will contribute to development of the PSF advocacy agenda in this area. In the coming months, the PSF in cooperation with TMEA, is planning to organize several workshops on the various EAC integration topics.

 
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