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EAC to Hold Regional Forum on Customs and Trade Facilitation this Week

 

The East African Community will this week hold a High Level Regional Forum to discuss key implementation issues of the Customs Union and the main challenges to trade facilitation in the region.

The EAC Regional High Level Forum on Customs Reform and Implementation of a Fully Fledged Customs Union takes place 30-31 October 2009 at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Arusha, Tanzania and is organised by the EAC Directorate of Customs and Trade in partnership with USAID-Compete and the Investment Climate Facility (ICF). It is one of several commemorative events for the EAC 10th Anniversary celebrations. The theme of the Forum is "Moving the EAC to a fully fledged Customs Union".

Participants at the Forum will take stock of achievements and challenges of the Customs Union in its five years of implementation and discuss the transformation to a fully fledged Customs Union.

Discussions shall focus on the framework to adopt taking into account the free movement of goods, internal customs border controls and management of customs revenue collection, the role of non customs agencies in a fully fledged Customs Union and trade facilitation, among others.

In regard to the Forum, the EAC Director of Customs Mr Kenneth Bagamuhunda said: “This event is a climax of the transitional process of the EAC Customs Union since 2005 where remarkable achievements have been registered in trade, investment and business performance. As EAC enters into the consolidation level of the Customs Union, it is important to take stock of the process and clearly define the transformation of this critical pillar of EAC integration which is a foundation for the Common Market and Monetary Union.”

Resource persons including Commissioners General of Revenue Authorities, heads of Immigration, Bureaus of Standards, Ports Authorities and the Business sector will make presentations through panel discussions on selected topics. The one and half-day Forum is expected to formulate a harmonized approach and strategic interventions which will be consolidated into a blueprint to guide the region in achieving a fully fledged Customs Union, due January 2010.

Over 150 senior executives of government and private sector agencies involved in the implementation of the Customs Union from within the EAC region will attend. The participants will include among others, Ministers responsible for Finance, Investment, Industry, Trade, EAC Affairs and infrastructure.

The Right Honorable Mizengo Pinda, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, will open the Forum.

Notes to Editors

· The Protocol on the establishment of the East African Customs Union was signed in March 2004 and came into force in January 2005. Rwanda and Burundi joined the Union in July 2009

· The main goal of a Customs Union goal is to liberalise and promote cross-border trade among the Partner States

· Intra-EAC trade has grown by over 49% in the period of the implementation of the Customs Union

· So far, implementation of the Customs Union has earned a number of tangible benefits. For instance, inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) almost tripled from US$ 692 million in 2002 to US$ 1,763 million in 2007 with Uganda and Tanzania receiving the largest proportion.

What it means to have a fully fledged Customs Union

· A Customs Union is a stage of regional integration where countries agree to remove all trade barriers between them

· The impact of a fully fledged Customs Union in the EAC is that territorial Customs borders will shift to the borders between EAC and third countries

· Goods entering the Union shall be subjected to Customs control once and will be subject to additional tariffs when moved from one Partner State to another

· It also means that goods originating from one Partner State to another will circulate freely without incurring any duties

FOR JOURNALISTS BASED OUTSIDE ARUSHA

The Director General (Customs and Trade), Mr Peter Kiguta, will address a press briefing tomorrow Tuesday 27 October 2009 at 11:00 AM at the EAC Media Centre. If you wish to have the Director General respond to your questions about customs or trade in the East African Community, please send your questions to this email: \n This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Alternatively, click here to submit your question via the EAC Corporate Communications website. Please include your name, email address and the name of the media house you work for along with your question.

For further information/clarification, please contact:

Richard Owora Othieno
Email: \n This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Mobile: +255 784 835021; Landline: +255 27 2504253/8
Website: http://www.eac.int

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha; 26 October 2009:

Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department

EAC Secretariat

Arusha, Tanzania