Lusaka: Comesa secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya says eleven countries have submitted their tentative lists of sensitive products under the Customs Union. Speaking at the opening of the third meeting of the committee on the Customs Union on Wednesday, Ngwenya said the region had also agreed on the threshold for sensitive products in the overall Comesa tariff. Ngwenya said the listing of the sensitive products was a sign of the progress the Customs Union had registered in terms of implementing some aspects of the roadmap milestones.
'I’m positive that the remaining countries are working towards fulfilling the obligations in this regard. In addition, further studies on the implications of an additional five per cent tariff band on the Common External Tariff (CET) have been completed,' said Ngwenya.
The 11 countries that have submitted their lists of sensitive products are Congo DR, Malawi, Burundi, Rwanda and Kenya. Others include Mauritius, Sudan, Swaziland Comoros Island, Madagascar and Uganda.
In the Comesa Customs Union, member states will be allowed to protect sensitive products during the transition period, with the possibility of putting them on a common list with higher rates, or excluding some from the Common External Trade Policy. This is in an effort to save local industries from dying because of external trade.
Zambia has however not yet submitted its sensitive products. And commerce permanent secretary Buleti Nsemukila said the implementation of the Customs Union would provide substantial gains not only to individual economies but also to the region.
Nsemukila however said the implementation of the key Customs Union instruments had been slow. 'Domestication of the Common Tariff nomenclature, domestication of the customs management regulations and the implementation of the common external tariff are the three main activities that have not been acted upon by member states,' he said.
Nsemukila said the lack of action in the three areas had affected progress in implementing the customs union and doing business in the region.
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Comesa: 11 members submit lists of sensitive products
Date:8 August 2011
News Tags:Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Intra-regional trade, Tripartite FTA