Breaking Trade Barriers Pilot Project launched

In the quest to increase intra-regional trade, COMESA through the Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Unit has initiated a project to address trade barriers on agricultural commodities which has received support from the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF).

The Breaking Barriers, Facilitating Trade project aims to reduce trading costs associated with SPS measures for selected commodities and trade routes in COMESA, also responds to the 2014 Malabo Declaration and Commitment to boosting Intra-African Trade in Agricultural commodities and services.

Speaking during the first Steering Committee Meeting for the project, COMESA Assistant Secretary General for Programmes, Ambassador Kipyego Cheluget said trade facilitation is the core mandate of COMESA’s regional integration agenda.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Cheluget said though COMESA has made remarkable strides in facilitating trade leading to the launch of the Free Trade Area (FTA) in October 2000, a number of challenges still persist such as Non-Tariff Barriers.

He added that beyond the FTA, COMESA has gone further in the quest for trade facilitation and regional integration to be part cialis 20 mg türkiye of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (COMESA, EAC, SADC) which is due for launch in June cialis for sale vancouver 2015, in Egypt.

“Our region’s trade is mainly in agricultural commodities. We applaud projects and partnerships like this aimed at removing trade barriers in agricultural products. Recently, the COMESA Summit endorsed the COMESA Industrialization Policy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. On agriculture, our focus is on value addition and we’ll be engaging partners such as the European Union (EU) for capacity building”, Cheluget said.

Representing STDF, World Trade Organization’s Economic Affairs Officer, Simon Padilla thanked COMESA for the partnership

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viagra generic for sale adding that he looked forward to commitment by stakeholders and positive results from the initiative [project].

Mr. Padilla said, while the project aims to reduce SPS related transaction costs at borders, it also aims to strengthen and enhance protection of human, animal and plant life for health in line with international standards.

“The main principles are that SPS measures should be non-discriminatory, transparent, science-based and not more trade-restrictive than necessary to achieve appropriate levels of protection (ALOP). SPS procedures and measures at borders between countries should be harmonized and solved on a bilateral basis. The trade dispute should be the last resort”, he said.

Mr. Padilla said once procedures are simplified and SPS measures are reviewed

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to assess whether they are really achieving intended objectives on a product by product basis, this will have an impact on the informal cross-border trade as informal traders shun stringent borders controls and costs.

He said the Standards and Trade Development Facility is a partnership of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank and the cheap generic cialis india World Trade Organization (WTO).

And COMESA SPS Expert Martha Byanyima said the Project will be piloted in seven COMESA member states namely; Egypt, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe with selected border posts between member states.

Ms. Byanyima said the project provides an opportunity for COMESA to build a trading block that will be an example in trade facilitation and regional integration in Africa in line with international standards.

The first steering committee meeting was attended by Country Coordinators, representatives from World Bank, World Fish, EU, OIE, FAO, CABI, and Africa Development Bank (AfBD). The Private Sector was represented by Eastern and Southern Africa Dairy Association (ESADA) and the East Africa Grain Council (EAGC).

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