Home » News: East African Community Sees Decline in Intra-Regional Trade Amidst Persistent Barriers

News: East African Community Sees Decline in Intra-Regional Trade Amidst Persistent Barriers

by Atqnews23
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East African Community

The once-strong currents of trade within the East African Community (EAC) are encountering obstacles, steering member states in a direction contrary to the bloc’s integration goals.

Pesky trade barriers have led to a decrease in intra-regional trade, prompting EAC member states to seek trading partners beyond their borders, with a notable increase in commerce with West African nations and non-African countries.

According to a report by The East African, published by africa.businessinsider.com intra-EAC trade is not reaching its full potential as a result of ongoing trade disputes and non-tariff barriers (NTBs), which are stifling intra-regional trade and weakening the regional integration goal.

READ: Aviation: East African Community (EAC) suggests a Single Air Transport Services Agreement to cut cargo costs

This troubling trend was revealed by the EAC Secretariat in the final draft of the Trade and Investment Report (2022). The report shows that EAC members are doing business more with West Africa and countries such as Japan, the USA, India, China, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“Despite achieving the above integration milestones, intra-EAC trade remains low at 15 percent in 2022 due to, among others, the imposition of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) by partner states. The persistence of NTBs continued to negatively affect intra-EAC trade,” Peter Mathuki, Secretary-General, EAC Secretariat, noted.

READ: Africa: East African Community to implement joint strategies to boost tourism sector post COVID

“Nevertheless, efforts have been put in place to resolve the existing NTBs and encourage partner states to refrain from imposing new ones in line with the commitment under the EAC Customs Union Protocol. The Secretariat in collaboration with partner states will work towards addressing barriers that impede trade with the objective of increasing Intra-EAC trade in the coming years,” he added.

According to The East African report “EAC imports from the UAE surged by 81.9 percent to $8.01 billion in 2022 from $4.4 billion in 2021 and imports from India increased by 20.9 percent to $5.85 billion from $4.84 billion in the same period.”

EAC imports from the UAE rose by 81.9% to $8.01 billion in 2022 from $4.4 billion in 2021. EAC Imports from India grew by 20.9% from 2021 to 2022, from $4.84 billion to $5.85 billion between 2022 and 2021.

EAC imports from China jumped by 16.6% to $10.98 billion from $9.42 billion, while its imports from the United States increased by 15.7% to $1.51 billion from $1.31 billion.

Imports from the rest of the world increased by 19.1% in 2022 to $53.89 billion, up from $45.25 billion in 2021, while imports from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) increased by 18.5% to $4.64 billion, up from $3.92 billion.

EAC overall exports to the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) grew by 48.5% to $136.1 million in 2022 from $91.6 million in 2021, while exports to Japan increased by 35.9 percent to $188.2 million from $138.5 million in the same energy.

Total intra-EAC trade increased by 11.2% to $10.91 billion in 2022 from $9.81 billion in 2021, however, the intra-EAC trade portion of total EAC trade remained at 15 percent in 2022.

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