Harmonization of East African Standards has increased intra-regional trade

  30th April , 2018

The 21st meeting of the East African standards Committee (EASC) held from 26th to 27th April 2018 in Arusha Tanzania, approved 44 harmonized standards that had been finalized covering the areas of: oil seeds, fats and oils (7); packaging (8); drinking water (3); textiles and textile products (12); alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (9); Liquefied petroleum and natural gas equipment (5). The committee further noted that 40 draft standards were in final stages of approval and had been circulated for public review and notified to World Trade Organization (WTO) and are due for approval at the next committee meeting. The committee also endorsed 107 international standards that had been referenced in the harmonized standards.

Harmonization of standards at the regional level continues to be a major activity of UNBS. A study undertaken by the East African Business Council (EABC) has shown that between 2010-2016 harmonization of standards within the EAC led to increase of intra-regional trade value by 18% from $291.2m to $343 for selected products that include soap and cleaning agents, alcoholic beverages, steel products, edible fats and oils, sugar confectionaries, fish and fishery products. As of 2017, there were 1374 harmonized East African Standards. With more standards harmonized, the intra-regional trade is expected to grow much higher.

The 21st EASC meeting was chaired by Uganda and attended by the delegates from Partner States of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Others attending included delegates from The EABC, Trade mark East Africa (TMEA), USAID/Trade Hub, ARSO, SADC, ISO, WHO/FAO Codex, and IEC regional office for Africa. The committee also reviewed progress made in the implementation of the 2017 work plan, status on adoption and implementation of harmonized standards, engagement with regional and international standardization organizations and progress made in the finalization of the EAC Metrology and Standards, Accreditation and Conformity Assessment (SACA) bills.