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Objectives of the Customs Union

While the objectives of the East African Community are broader and cover almost all spheres of life, the main objective of the Customs Union is formation of a single customs territory. Therefore, trade is at the core of the Customs Union.

It is within this context that internal tariffs and non-tariff barriers that could hinder trade between the Partner States have to be eliminated, in order to facilitate formation of one large single market and investment area. Similarly, policies relating to trade between the Partner States and other countries, such as the external tariffs, have to be harmonized. Therefore, within a Customs Union, Partner States have to behave as a single customs territory and trading bloc.

The aim of creating one single customs territory is to enable Partner States to enjoy economies of scale, with a view to supporting the process of economic development. Unlike in developed countries, economic integration is not just for purpose of trade per se, but as a vehicle for bringing about faster economic development.

Nevertheless, a Customs Union on its own will not bring about faster economic development. Therefore, it has to be supported by other measures such as development of infrastructure, to link production areas to markets. In addition, measures to support development of human resources across the region are similarly important.