East Africa’s bloc launches trade policy to boost integration

(180809) — KHARTOUM, Aug. 9, 2018 (Xinhua) — Photo taken on Aug. 9, 2018 shows the 64th extraordinary session of the Council of Ministers of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Khartoum, Sudan. The East African trade bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Thursday kicked off an extraordinary ministerial session in Sudan’s capital Khartoum to boost the peace process in South Sudan. (Xinhua/Mohamed Khidir)

Nairobi, Sep 16 (IANS) The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East Africa bloc, has launched a trade policy in order to boost regional integration.

Fatuma Adan, Head of Mission for Kenya at IGAD, told journalists in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya on Thursday that the IGAD trade policy is designed to create an open and unified regional economic space that will boost intra-IGAD trade by creating the necessary environment and removing obstacles to trade for goods and services.

Adan said the IGAD trade policy will provide a mechanism for expanding intra-regional exports of both consumer goods and capital goods through the development of regional value chains, Xinhua news agency reported.

IGAD member states include Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Eritrea and South Sudan.

He added that the trade policy will coordinate policies and regulatory trade framework to ensure that measures undertaken across IGAD member states are not contradictory, adding that the policy will also enhance regional integration by assisting its members in the domestication and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Adan noted that the trade policy provides a roadmap for implementing trade in a way that maximises the benefits of liberalisation for the IGAD region while limiting the consequences for government revenues that might be caused by the reduction of relatively high tariffs.

“The policy also identifies measures to strengthen both customs administration procedures and institutional capacity building for cross-border trade facilitation among the IGAD member states,” she said.

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