Non-Tariff Barriers in the East African Community: Is the African Continental Free Trade Area the Long-Awaited "Messiah"?
Published 18 March 2021
The Protocol on the Establishment of the East African Customs Union came into force in 2005. By ratifying the Protocol, the East African Community (EAC), Partner States agreed to remove, with immediate effect, all the then existing non-tariff barriers to the importation into their respective territories of goods originating in the other Partner States and, thereafter, not to impose any new non-tariff barriers. By so doing, they committed to formulating a mechanism for identifying and monitoring the removal of such non-tariff barriers. Despite this clear framework, non-tariff barriers still lie at the heart of the EAC integration process. On the other hand, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) non-tariff barriers (NTBs) resolution mechanism seems to be ahead of the global curve. However, how different is the AfCFTA from the EAC NTB elimination framework? Is the AfCFTA the "messiah" the EAC Partner States have been waiting for? This study reviews the EAC NTBs resolution mechanism as well as the AfCFTA NTB resolution mechanism and further establishes whether or not the AfCFTA NTB elimination mechanism is a sufficient solution to the upsurging NTBs in EAC. This study concludes by establishing that the AfCFTA NTB resolution framework, however innovative and progressive, still has a long way to go.
This paper will be part of the TDM Special Issue on "The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)". More information here www.transnational-dispute-management.com/news.asp?key=1809