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Regional Trade

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

July 2019
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Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Contrary to earlier fears that Kenya would dominate its neighbours in a liberalised regional market, figures show a growing trend towards more balanced trade. While Kenya retains its industrial advantage, earlier policies of import substitution and protectionism adopted by Uganda and Rwanda plus an open trade regime have led to more balanced trade.The two countries, which had been Kenya’s biggest markets for long, have started to produce their own value added products thereby reducing the need for imports.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Over the past eight years, intra‐regional trading within the East African Community (EAC) has grown from $2 billion in 2005 to $5.5 billion in 2013; this has been directly linked to the implementation of the Customs Union Protocol. Dr Abdulla Saadala, acting Chair of the Council of Ministers, disclosed this last week while explaining that the implementation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) had resulted in tremendous advantages and efficiencies especially with respect to the turnaround time of movement of cargo. It now takes four days to ship cargo from Mombasa to Kampala and six days from Mombasa to Kigali, before the implementation of the SCT, these figures stood at 18 and 21 respectively.

Importers and business people will soon get timely and efficient services at clearance points following a partnership deal that was signed between the Royal Danish Embassy, Uganda and TradeMark East Africa ( TMEA ). This is in support of the National Electronic Single Window (NESW). Once implemented, NESW will improve availability and easy access to international trade documents and information leading to reduced transaction delays and costs. The Danish ambassador, Dan e Frederiksen said his government will provide TMEA with a grant of $5 million (which will be paid in phases. Each phase is supposed to take one year) in support of their efforts to reach the agreed objectives and outputs of the NSEW.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

After years of negotiations between the East African Community (EAC)—the regional organization including Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania—and the European Union (EU), early reports suggest that the two partners will sign a comprehensive trade deal, an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), by the end of the month. This agreement will extend duty- and quota-free access to East African exporters targeting European markets, while also expanding the EU’s reciprocal market access in EAC countries—a measure that has been contested by some observers. Earlier this year, other African regional bodies such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) signed similar EPA agreements.

A leading South African supermarket chain wants more Zimbabwean agricultural products to add to the current basket of commodities being exported across the Limpopo river. Pick & Pay director of group enterprises Mr Dallas Langman told The Herald Business at the opening of the new TM Msasa branch yesterday that Zimbabwean fruits and vegetables can be traded anywhere in the world due to their quality.

Monday, 15 September 2014

As well as facilitating trade from Pacific Island Forum member nations with countries outside the region, Pacific Islands Trade & Invest (PT&I) also works toward promoting intra-regional trade. In May this year, PT&I NZ was part of a trade mission from Tonga’s agribusiness sector to Samoa. Tonga’s Minister of Agriculture and Food, Forests and Fisheries, Honourable Sione Sangster Saulala led the trade mission, which the Government of Tonga initiated, to discuss opportunities under a potential bilateral free trade agreement. The delegation of Government officials and exporters met with the Government Ministries and th private sector in Samoa on how the agreement could be made beneficial for both countries.

Major players in the South African poultry industry are asking Namibia’s High Court to set aside the restrictions on the importation of poultry products that the Minister of Trade and Industry, Calle Schlettwein, announced in April last year. With a review application that the South African Poultry Association and five companies involved in the South African poultry industry lodged against the Minister of Trade and Industry, the government and Namib Poultry Industries in the Windhoek High Court still in its early stages, preliminary skirmishes in the case have started to crop up in court.

As member states seek to more aggressively implement the Caricom Rapid Alert System for the Exchange of Information on Dangerous (Non-Foods) Consumer Goods (Carrex) system, Hilda Kelshall, consumer health and safety officer, CSME Secretariat in Barbados, says that countries need to become their brother’s keeper in a concerted effort to protect consumers. She said the region continues to rely heavily on international institutions for information, either directly or indirectly, on dangerous goods that have made their way on domestic or regional markets. “The problem with this dependency syndrome is that some of these international institutions, particularly the federal or state agencies in countries such as the United States, will only issue alerts when the dangerous goods or products in question are on the US market.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

South Africa and Namibia's refusal to sign a trade protocol last week during the Sadc summit in Victoria Falls clearly underlined the regional grouping is still far from achieving its main goals of economic and political integration, which were the major reasons for its transformation from a conference into a community of nations 22 years ago. The protocol is aimed at improving trade and infrastructure development among member states. Initially established as the Southern African Co-ordination Conference (Sadcc) in 1980 to foster greater economic co-operation among member states and reduce dependence on the-then apartheid regime of South Africa, as well as to assist liberation movements in that country and Namibia, Sadcc was transformed into the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) whose major focus is achieving political and economic integration.

The government of Ethiopia has finalized preparations to join the Eastern and Southern African Common Market (COMESA) free market area, the Ministry of Trade said. Trade Relations and Negotiation Director-General at the Ministry Geremew Ayalew said that the country has been searching for markets for the increasing market demand of its industries. The competence of Ethiopian industries has been growing and the industries are in their stage of producing items meeting international standards, he said. The rapid and consecutive development of the country and involvement of foreign-based companies which led to technology and knowledge transfer enabled industries build their capability. The country has been engaged in various dialogues with various countries and entities to meet this increasing demand for market, he added.