Uganda is one of the founder members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a signatory to the multilateral agreements which includes the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS).
Uganda is also a signatory to a number of Regional Economic Communities including the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Tripartite, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and has negotiated several Bilateral Agreements including EAC-US Cooperation Agreement on Trade Facilitation, SPS and TBT; and Economic Partnership Agreements. This means that all the RECs contain protocols on SPS and TBT.
In Uganda, the responsibilities for SPS and TBT are fragmented across several Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). This has often led to administrative fragmentation and lack of leadership thus preventing effective Coordination and Implementation of SPS and TBT issues at National Level. SPS and TBT implementation therefore requires effective coordination among MDAs.
From 1995 to 2003, there was no mechanism in place to coordinate MDAs responsible for the Implementation and Administration of the Agreements. In addition, there was no dedicated forum for consulting the private sector that are affected by the implementation of Bilateral, Regional, Plurilateral and WTO SPS and TBT Agreements and yet the private sector is required to comply with SPS and TBT Measures.
The National TBT/SPS Committee was established in 2004 to provide a coordination mechanism on SPS and TBT matters at national level. The committee consists of the Chair, Vice Chair (Private Sector), Vice Chair (Public Sector), Secretary, Assistant Secretary and representatives from public and private sector institutions.