EABC launches barometer in trade services

THE East African Business Council (EABC) has launched the Barometer on Trade in Services in the East Africa Community (EAC), aimed at providing commercial measurement services in EAC countries.

Speaking at the launching on Friday in Arusha, the Executive Director of EABC, Mr John –Bosco Kalisa said the measure would greatly help reduce trade barriers among member countries of the East African community.

“The EABC benchmarking tool gives a positive direction to the EAC countries which are committed to liberalizing 92 small sectors after the devices showed professional services of legal engineering, accounting and auditing are the most restricted,” said Mr Kalisa.

Also, Mr Kalisa said that the move would lay the foundation to build an integrated EAC services market and will result in a commercial meaningful trade of services in the EAC bloc once implementation commences.

He also explained that the new sub-sectors boost other key sectors like business services (37), transport services (36) and financial sector (10) which are all critical key sectors in their own right and intermediate inputs in the manufacture of goods and production.

Mr Kalisa urged the EAC Secretariat to fast-track the finalization of the EAC Common Market in order to develop a regional time-bound framework. He also urged all EAC Partner States to adopt the One Network Area on telecommunication as roaming costs are very high.

In his opening remarks, the EAC Director of Trade, Mr Richard Kibowa said trade in services is a critical component of the EAC Common Market.

Mr Kibowa noted that the EAC Secretariat was committed to mainstreaming the recommendations of the EABC Barometer on trade in services into EAC policy decision-making to boost the performance of the services sector in the region.

The Virtual Launch of the EABC Barometer on Trade in Services was attended by over 85 business leaders and professional service providers from the EAC region and beyond.

The Barometer on Trade in Services in the EAC was undertaken by the East African Business Council support by GIZ- support East African Market Driven and People-Centered Integration (SEAMPEC).

The EABC Barometer on Trade in Services shows EAC region exported services worth 12.9 billion USD against 933.6 million USD worth of imports globally in 2019.

Also in 2020, due to the Covid 19 impacts dropped by 41percent to 762.2milion USD, leading the region to become a net importer, with imports worth 842.2 million USD.

The EABC Barometer also recommends the EAC Partner States undertake reforms to align their domestic laws to their commitments under the Common Market Protocol and revise schedule of commitments for progressive liberalization of trade in services.

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