The East African Community (EAC) Manufacturers Network met to discuss, among other issues, the EAC Common External Tariff (CET), resolution of tariff and non-tariff barriers and Post-Agoa Strategy.
The EAC Manufacturing Network, launched in 2015, aims to realize the potential of the manufacturing sector in the EAC region through a systematic approach to regional issues affecting the sector and to serve the interests of manufacturers in the region.
Speaking during the event, KAM CEO, Ms Phyllis Wakiaga noted that the Network has sought convergence on issues affecting manufacturers’ competitiveness in the EAC region.
“The EAC has in place an Industrialization Strategy that aims to increase trade among the Partner States for manufactured products to at least 25% and exports of manufactured goods to countries outside the EAC to at least 60% by 2032. The Network seeks convergence on issues affecting the competitiveness of manufacturers in the region geared towards enhancing its productivity and competitiveness towards economic transformation,” said Ms Wakiaga.
Since its inception, the Network has managed to advocate for the resolution of tariff and non-tariff barriers, review of EAC Customs Management Act, tax stamps management systems, harmonization of domestic taxes, fight against illicit trade and EAC Common External Tariff (CET) Review.
The two-day forum will discuss the outcomes of the Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) meeting held in September 2019, including the review of the EAC CET. The EAC partner states have unanimously adopted a four (4) band structure of 0% (raw materials and capital goods), 10% (intermediate input/products not available in the EAC region), 25% (intermediate inputs/products available in the EAC Region) and either 30% or 35% (Finished products). However, the CET rate for the highest band, criteria and list of products above 25% are yet to be agreed upon.
The meeting will also discuss and agree on a common industry position and validation of the final position moving forward on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and Post AGOA strategy and its impact on industry.
Other matters being deliberated upon include the review of the EAC Customs Management Act (2004), EAC region-wide duty remission scheme, harmonization and adoption of IPR related laws in EAC and enactment of relevant regional Bills.
The Network signed a memorandum of understanding with East Africa Business Council (EABC) on 28th September 2015 to facilitate the Network in channelling regional manufacturing issues through EABC to the EAC Secretariat.
The EAC Manufacturers Network comprises of Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Confederation of Tanzania Industries, Uganda Manufacturers Association, Rwanda Manufacturers Association and Industrial Association of Burundi.