EAC unveils cutting-edge digital tool for Common External Tariff Management

14 June 2024

In a landmark advancement for regional trade, the East African Community (EAC) has launched a state-of-the-art Electronic Tariff (E-Tariff) Software at the 42nd Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance, and Investment (SCTIFI) on 31 May 2024 in Arusha, Tanzania. Developed under the EAC’s direction and supported by the European funded EU-WCO Harmonized System (HS) Program for Africa, this innovative platform is set to transform the efficiency, transparency, and accessibility of tariff information among EAC Partner States. Sensitization and training sessions have commenced in Rwanda, with full implementation expected in the first and second quarters of 2024/2025.

The E-Tariff Software is engineered to enhance stakeholder engagement and streamline tariff processes, offering a suite of benefits including improved stakeholder participation, comprehensive duty remission and stays of application, preferential tariff management, visual and interactive tools, seamless HS migration, and robust data and statistical analysis capabilities.

Ms. Annete Semuwemba, Deputy Secretary-General of Customs, Trade, and Monetary Affairs at the EAC, underscored the timely introduction of the tool at the launch event. She highlighted its potential to expedite clearance times, ensure consistent application of the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) across Partner States, and foster transparency and accountability in trade processes, thereby bolstering revenue collection and promoting regional integration.

Hon. Mwigulu Lameck Nchemba, Tanzania’s Minister of Finance and Planning, lauded the tool, expressing confidence that it would significantly enhance trade efficiency and facilitation through digital transformation.

Mr. Cedric Merel, Head of Cooperation at the EU delegation to Tanzania and EAC, noted the strengthened cooperation between the EU, EAC, and WCO, emphasizing the initiative as part of broader collaborative efforts. He reiterated the EU’s commitment to fostering regional integration and trade efficiency in East Africa, highlighting the critical support and funding provided for development. By improving access to transparent tariff information, this collaboration markedly contributes to the economic growth and development of the EAC region.

The launch event attracted several ministers, permanent and principal secretaries, and senior officials from the Partner States attending the 42nd SCTIFI. Mr. Badr Mouhcine, Program Head of the EU WCO HS & Rules of Origin Program for Africa, and Ms. Louise Wiggett, CEO of Global Trade Solution, were also in attendance.

The introduction of the E-Tariff Software represents a pivotal moment for the EAC, significantly enhancing the region’s ability to manage and disseminate tariff-related information. This development heralds a substantial improvement in trade efficiency and economic integration within the East African region.