COMESA and Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote trade in the region by removing obstacles that impede the smooth flow or trade among the Member States in the region.
Working closely with international and regional organizations, such as Trade Mark East Africa, national institutions, the private sector and civil society organizations, this will enable promote trade by unlocking the economic potential of the COMESA region through increased physical access to markets, enhanced trade environment and improved business competitiveness.
The MoU marks an important milestone in providing a framework of cooperation and partnership between the two organizations in areas of common interest. These include market access, development or border post infrastructure, improvement of trade environment through trade facilitation and inclusion of the private sector as key players in economic development.
The pact was signed by the Trade Mark East Africa Executive Director Frank Matsaert and COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe at the COMESA Secretariat.
"We are getting into this partnership to ensure that through policy formulation, creation of trade facilitation tool which are automated as well as standards and non-tariff barrier (NTB) removal so that business people, whether SMEs or large enterprises get the benefits," Mr. Matsaert stated.
Secretary General indicated that jointly, COMESA and TMEA will implement trade facilitation initiatives in the region through application or respective regional and international instruments. In particular, support will be provided to Member States to implement the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement.
The partnership between the two organizations is envisaged to speed up the implementation of joint programs and actions aimed at; improving infrastructure and application of Technical Standards and Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary measures; reducing the cost, time and other barriers in the movement of transit goods through electronic monitoring, regional transit guarantees and other initiatives.
It will also support the improvement of efficiency along the major trade and transport corridors including logistics and monitoring performance along such corridors; addressing gender related barriers to effective participation of women and youth in trade including capacity building, research and joint mobilization or resources for implementation or programs of mutual interests, among others.
The partnership is in line with the aims and objectives of COMESA to cooperate in strengthening the relations between the Common Market and other partners in order to contribute to the economic development of the region.