TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

COMESA states lack strong industries to spur regional trade - Siame

Wednesday, 31 August 2016 Published: | Stuart Lisulo

Source: Zambia Post

Zambia commerce permanent secretary Kayula Siame says intra-COMESA trade continues to face challenges despite the available instruments designed to improve integration.

And COMESA assistant secretary general Dr Kipyego Cheluget says Zambia is among countries that have not exploited the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Speaking during the official opening of the 32nd meeting of the trade and customs committee in Lusaka, Siame said the implementation of regional commitments and full-scale participation of COMESA member-states still required improvement.

She noted that the slow pace of domestic ratification of COMESA's trade instruments had kept some member states from utilising the benefits that could be accrued from implementation of some trade instruments.

"In as much as COMESA developed excellent instruments policies all aimed at improving integration and boosting intra-COMESA trade, we still face some challenges," Siame said at Lusaka's Grand Palace Hotel on Monday.

"The low[ level of transposition of regional instruments has affected negatively the implementation of the various programmes. For instance, a recent survey undertaken by the Secreta[riat has shown low levels of implementation of regional commitments at national levels."

She noted that sensitizatio[n of COMESA's protocols and trade instruments to enhance knowledge of the benefits was also lacking.

"There is need to revitalise the domestic industries and ensure that they tap into the existing regional market i[n order to contribute to national and regional development objectives," said Siame.

And Dr Cheluget observed that Zambia was among some COMESA members that had not exploited the AGOA platform.

"Kenya, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Swaziland, Malawi and Uganda have been relatively successful in utilising the AGOA benefits while Zambia, Burundi, Djibouti, Seychelles and Rwanda have not been so successful in exploiting the opportunity created by AGOA," said Dr Cheluget.

"Now that the AGOA and third country fabric provisions have been extended, the onus is on the COMESA AGOA eligible countri[es to put in place practical programmes that would enhance their utilisation of benefits."

COMESA member-states at the meeting received updates on various trade and macroeconomic developments in the region; the functioning of the free trade area as well as progress made on the Customs Union.

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