Common Market

East African Community Common Market

To give effect to the above freedoms and areas of cooperation, the Protocol has the following annexes which contain the implementation timeframe and operational details:

· Annex on the free movement of persons;

· Annex on the free movement of workers;

· Annex on the right of residence;

· Annex on the right of establishment;

· Schedule on the free movement of capital; and

· Schedule of commitments on trade in services in the Community.

Objectives of the EAC Common Market:

The overall objective of the EAC Common Market is to widen and deepen cooperation among the Partner States in the economic and social fields for the benefit of the Partner States. The specific objectives of the EAC Common Market are to:

* accelerate economic growth and development of the Partner States through the attainment of the free movement of goods, persons and labour, the rights of establishment and residence and the free movement of services and capital;
* strengthen, coordinate and regulate the economic and trade relations among the Partner States in order to promote accelerated, harmonious and balanced development within the Community;
* sustain the expansion and integration of economic activities within the Community, the benefit of which shall be equitably distributed among the Partner States;
* promote common understanding and cooperation among the nationals of the Partner States for their economic and social development; and
* enhance research and technological advancement to accelerate economic and social development.

Principles of the EAC Common Market:

* Fundamental and operational principles of the Community as enshrined in Art. 6 & 7 of the Treaty establishing the EAC;
* Principle of non-discrimination of nationals of other Partner States on grounds of nationality;
* Principle of Most Favored Nation accord to nationals of other Partner States treatment not less favourable than the treatment accorded to third parties;
* ensure transparency in matters concerning the other Partner States; and
* share information for the implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol.

Benefits and opportunities of the EAC Common Market:

– Lower transaction costs for businesses (e.g. bureaucracy, exchange rate fluctuation);

– Larger market size, economies of scale;

– Improved competitiveness, lower cost, higher profitability;

– Cheaper, better goods and services, more choice and innovation, price convergence;

– Rising sales and profits for the most cost-effective producers;

– Reduction in consumer prices;

– Increase in GDP and employment;

– From a landlocked country to a land linked economy;

– Bring down the cost of transportation;

– Wider market to attract investors;

– Best practices in developing business environment;
– Wider skill base in the region;

– Expansion of investments through joint ventures;

– Increasing specialisation, need for cross-border markets;

– Increased pressure from competition;

– Protection of IPR;

– Strong voice in global trade negotiations such as WTO, EPAS, TIFA’s, AGOA, etc.;

– Removal of internal tariffs and non tariff barriers to trade, such as;

o Multiple charges and levies at intra-EAC border crossing points,

o Cumbersome customs administration procedures,

o Restrictive licensing practices,

o Road blocks,

o Weigh bridges,

o New NTBs implemented to compensate for the elimination of tariffs under the Customs Union.

Challenges in the implementation of the Common Market:

– Low level of awareness by some stakeholders;

– The level of involvement by some institutions is not satisfactory (lack of ownership);

– Limited capacity for implementation of the Treaty and other legal instruments;

– The involvement of the private sector as a driving force of integration is not effective enough;

– Difficulties in harmonization of policies and laws;

– Transitional measures and support to private sector to maximize on the benefits of integration are not well ensured;

– Temporary revenue losses arising from elimination of internal tariffs and application of EAC Common External Tariffs (CET);

– Overlapping membership.

Entry into Force

The Common Market Protocol was signed by the five Heads of State on 20th November 2009 and shall enter into force from 1st July 2010 upon its ratification by all Partner States.