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Friday, 25 June 2010

Increase in non-tariff barriers causing concern in Comesa

The increase of non-tariff barriers  in the $350 billion Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa  in the recent past  is causing  concern among some member states. The countries are  expressing fear that efforts  to establish a fully functional customs union, launched last year, in the 12 million square kilometre trade bloc may be hampered if the problem is not tackled fast and swiftly. Numerous meetings held at Comesa headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia, and other cities  in the  region to solve the problem  has failed to solve the issue. Even a major resolution by the council of ministers, one of the top decision-making organs in Comesa, that non-tariff barriers  be  removed by March last year was ignored by as member states came up with new barriers to dodge the declaration. “Though some non-tariff barriers were eliminated after the council of ministers’ resolution, other new non-tariff barriers quickly came up,” says Geoffrey Osoro, senior trade policy  expert at Comesa secretariat. Some countries are now calling for stiff penalties on those flouting rules regarding the indiscriminate use of non-trade barriers.
Source: The East African