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WCO Reaffirms Support for the EAC Trade Facilitation Efforts Through the Mercator Programme and Other Initiatives

06 octubre 2017

The WCO participated at the East African Community (EAC) donor roundtable on support for implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement which was held on Wednesday, 27 September 2017 at the EAC Secretariat Arusha, Tanzania.  The EAC Secretariat organised the roundtable to review support offered by different development partners and identify new areas where further support to its Trade Facilitation agenda can be extended.  The Partner States of the EAC are Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The Roundtable brought together senior Customs and Trade officials, Chairpersons of National Committees on Trade Facilitation from the EAC Partner States and a number of EAC development partners that included the WCO.  The discussions where preceded by presentations on the overview of the TFA, the TFA facility, the WCO’s Mercator Programme and the EAC action plan on implementation of the TFA

During the presentations, the meeting congratulated Rwanda and Kenya for having ratified the TFA and contributing to its official entry into force.  The meeting also noted that all EAC countries of have made category A notifications and are making progress towards ratification.

The WCO addressed how support for trade facilitation measures including the WTO TFA is being provided through the Mercator Programme, using WCO instruments and tools as most of the TFA provisions relate to Customs.  The WCO also highlighted a number of areas where support is being provided to the EAC under the Mercator framework among which is the implementation of the Regional Authorised Economic Operator Program and reaffirmed its continued support.

In addition, the WCO took part in a panel discussion on Monitoring and Evaluation of the TFA implementation efforts.  The meeting was informed the topic aligned to Performance Measurement which is one of the six (6) priority areas of the WCO and highlights of initiatives including instruments and tools were presented.

In concluding the roundtable, the EAC and development partners agreed on specific recommendations and a way forward which includes submission by the EAC Secretariat of project proposals that need donor support.  It was further agreed that the project proposals will be in line with the 5th EAC development Strategy.