NAIROBI, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- The East African Community (EAC) bloc on Thursday called for swift review of the regional common external tariff (CET) in order to boost trade in the region.
National trade consultants from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan, who are meeting in Nairobi to come up with common recommendations on the tariffs, expressed concern that the negotiations have taken too long which have affected inter-EAC trade.
"The talks have taken too long and should be concluded and where there are inconsistencies, they should be addressed," Jim Mwine Kabeho, vice-chairman of East African Business Council (EABC) told delegates.
"It is a matter of great concern that inter-trade among EAC member states stands at 12 percent whereas trade with other nations is 90 percent, leaving the neighboring countries to trade at 10 percent among themselves," said Jim.
The member states put together country positions on how they intend to review duties on goods entering the regional bloc that set the stage for negotiations ahead of the then-proposed deadline of July 1 for implementation.
Peter Mathuki, chief executive officer of EABC, said there was urgent need for member states to come up with common positions ahead of the EAC heads of state summit scheduled for September, adding that in another 3-4 years, inter-EAC trade should stand at about 40 percent.