State outlines trade woes in COMESA region

DESPITE the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) developing excellent instruments policies to improve integration and boost intra-trade in the region, member states continue to face challenges, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Kayula Siame has said.
Ms Siame cited instruments such as the yellow card, which is a motor vehicle insurance scheme which is valid in all the participating countries, the customs document, the simplified trade regime, Non-Tariff Barrier Regulations, the COMESA fund and regional customs Transit Guarantee.
She said when officiating at the 32nd meeting of the trade and customs committee yesterday that implementation of regional commitments and full-scale participation of all member states in the COMESA programmes is an area that still requires improvement.
“Integration is a collective effort and success can only be attained when the majority are fully engaged in the various activities currently in place in COMESA. The low level of transposition of regional instruments has effected negatively the implementation of the various programmes,” she said.
She, however, said increased awareness among member states is crucial to facilitate trade investment by the private sector.
Earlier, COMESA assistant secretary general programmes Kipyego Cheluget said the fruits of the effort that member states have put into integrating their economies are manifested by the level of interaction of their economic agencies.
Dr Cheluget also said trade in the region continues to record high levels although fluctuating due to the changes in world prices of commodities.
He said last year intra-COMESA total exports declined by eight percent from US$9.2 billion in 2014 to US$7.6 billion in 2015.

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