Nearly half of Uganda’s companies face challenges with non-tariff measures, says business survey
Nearly half of Ugandan companies face challenges with non-tariff measures (NTMs), according to an International Trade Centre or ITC business survey. NTMs often create procedural obstacles such as delays, insufficient facilities, and administrative hurdles, either in destination markets or in Uganda itself.
Certification, labeling, packaging, and rules of origin are their biggest challenges.
The ITC business surveys show that nearly half of Uganda’s companies face challenges with non-tariff measures (NTMS). The survey found that 226 of the 439 interviewed companies or 46% struggle with regulations imposed by Uganda and partner countries with agricultural exporters facing more difficulties than exporters from the manufacturing sector.
Companies that export coffee and processed foods are among the most affected. In general, agricultural goods and food products are highly regarded for reasons of human health and safety and environmental protection.
Countries in the East African Community (EAC) and the European Union (EU), Uganda’s two biggest markets impose the most NTMS. Almost one-third of exporters’ difficulties are due to regulations imposed by members of the EAS, which is Uganda's top export market - buying 49% of its exports. Conformity assessment and rules of origin are the toughest NTMS applied by EAC countries. Rwanda and Kenya impose the greatest percentage of these regulations.
EU countries buy 21% of Ugandan exports but apply more than 27% of the reported NTMs. Belgium and the United Kingdom apply the most NTMS among EU countries, with technical requirements and conformity assessment being the biggest challenge for Ugandan exporters.
Sanitary and phytosanitary requirements and technical barriers to trade together comprise 46% of the difficult cases reported by Ugandan exporters.
The report recommends stronger quality infrastructure within the country which will boost the competitiveness of small businesses, including laboratories for testing and certification. As well as automated border clearance will help to streamline the export procedures and increase transparency.