Business : Technical Regulations Hinder Doing Business - EABC - Wazalendo 25 Blog


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10 Sep 2016

Business : Technical Regulations Hinder Doing Business - EABC

By Dorothy Nakaweesi
Differing regulatory frameworks for technical standards across the East African member states are slowing the integration progress, regional experts have revealed.
Technical regulations related to standards which usually contain specifications contained in documents have become a major non-tariff barrier, impacting intra-EAC trade.
Records from the EAC trade report of 2014 showed a 3 per cent decline in trade from $5.8 billion (Shs19.7 trillion) in 2013 to $5.6 billion (Shs18.3 trillion) in 2014. This was mainly driven by a 12.7 per cent decrease in intra-EAC exports.
Speaking at a private dialogue in Kampala on September 1, EABC’s executive director, Ms Lillian Awinja, said: “This challenge generates additional costs for businesses trading across the EAC borders. As businesses are often forced to redesign products to meet the technical regulations of different markets within the EAC or have their products re-tested and re-certified, which leads to duplication of costs, thereby increasing the cost of production.”
Exporters frequently face difficulties in gaining access to markets due to requirements that products be tested and assessed in the importing country to ensure that local regulatory requirements are met.
To address this challenge, the EAC started the process of reviewing the SQMT Act in 2011.
As part of this initiative the SQMT Act 2006 was amended to read as ‘Standardization, Accreditation and Conformity Assessment (SACA) Bill 2015’.
EAC principal standards officer Mr Willy Musinguzi asked the private sector to use their observer status at the council of ministers to push this issue forward.
The agreement
Treaty. The EAC Treaty (1999) provides for cooperation in Standardisation, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing (SQMT). The SQMT Act, which was enacted in 2006 provides a framework for the development and implementation of SQMT activities in the EAC.

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