EAC Faces $16 Million Loss Due to Non-Tariff Barriers, Threatening Intra-Regional Trade

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
2 Min Read
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The East African Community (EAC) is grappling with significant financial losses amounting to $16,703,970 as a result of non-tariff barriers (NTBs), according to a recent report. The total trade impact of these barriers is estimated at a staggering $94,918,000, highlighting the detrimental effect they are having on regional commerce. The report, presented during the EAC Regional Meeting Committee in 2023, indicates a worrying decline in trade by an average of 58 percent, underscoring the urgency of addressing these obstacles.

Tanzania and Uganda are singled out as having the highest number of unresolved NTBs within the EAC. Tanzania is reported to have four unresolved issues, while Uganda has three. Kenya and South Sudan each have one outstanding barrier as of February 2024. These barriers, which include import quotas, customs delays, and technical obstacles, have hindered the smooth flow of trade within the EAC, posing a significant challenge to economic integration efforts.

In response to the escalating crisis, the EAC Sectoral Council of Trade, Industry, Finance, and Investment convened a meeting in Arusha, chaired by William Anyuon Kuol, Minister for Trade and Industry of South Sudan. The council resolved to address the NTBs by June and urged partner states to engage in bilateral meetings to find solutions. EAC Secretary-General Peter Mathuki emphasized the need for urgent action, citing the continued threat NTBs pose to intra-regional trade despite significant growth in trade volumes in recent years.

The persistence of NTBs between member states, such as Tanzania’s imposition of excise duties on certain Kenyan products and Uganda’s restrictions on Kenyan imports, underscores the need for concerted efforts to harmonize trade procedures and eliminate barriers. To facilitate this process, the EAC Secretariat has developed a mobile app aimed at simplifying the reporting, monitoring, and resolution of NTBs. By providing a user-friendly platform for traders and producers to report obstacles, the app aims to enhance transparency and efficiency in addressing NTBs, ultimately fostering a more conducive environment for trade within the EAC.


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