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EAC enters into agreement to boost free trade
24
Jul '08
An agreement between East African countries and regional commodity dealers has been concluded to increase participation in policy-making and facilitation of trade.

The agreement was inked in Nairobi on July 23 where the proposal of removing non tariff barriers and permitting free trade in the region was given an approval. It was signed between East African Community (EAC) and the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), Africa Cotton and Textile Industries Federation and the Eastern and South African Dairy Association.

Countries in the region have either imposed bans or increased tax under the pretext of securing domestic market from increased international competition. However, with this new agreement coming into force, private sector is likely to come to the forefront of the East African integration filling up the missing link in policy formulation at the secretariat level.

Emphasis was also laid on boosting industrialization on the basis of raw materials like cotton, which are readily available in the market. Vertical integration in the cotton and textile sector through regional value chain is expected to give a boost to the sector.

Julius Onen, EAC Deputy Secretary-General stated during the signing ceremony, “Governments must still invest and support these sectors in a pragmatic way because we need sustainable trade situations. Moreover, experiences from the European Union and America have shown that everyone benefits when we have borderless economies.”

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