The New Times (Kigali)

East Africa: EABC Joins World Customs Organisation

EFFORTS to boost regional trade could be strengthened following the nomination of The East African Business Council (EABC) at the World Customs Organisation (WCO), a Private Sector Consultative Group in charge of the implementation and monitoring of customs standards and procedures.

The partnership will see the two bodies work together in monitoring the progress and the implementation of customs standards and procedures to secure and facilitate global trade, Andrew Luzze, the Executive Director East African Business Council, said.

The joint Consultative partnerships seek to provide advice to the High Level Strategic Group (HLSG) and the Secretary General on all matters involving trade security and trade facilitation across the region.

"The team will also submit annual reports to the Secretariat describing the operations of the Consultative Group during the preceding year; and set forth any recommendations regarding the trade security and trade facilitation measures of the World Customs Organisation," Luzze said.

Addressing business matters relating to enhanced border and cargo supply chain security, customs modernisation and automation, capacity building, compliance assessment, commercial enforcement and uniformity, international efforts to harmonise customs practices and procedures, and strategic planning will be a top priority, according to EABC officials.

According to Fiona Uwera, the EABC technical liaison officer for Rwanda, sensitisation of Rwanda's private sector about the new partnership is ongoing.

Denis Karera, the Rwanda representative at EABC, said that the initiative is an opportunity for regional exports to compete favourably in global markets.

"The membership is a representative of the private sector interests engaged in and affected by the trade security and facilitation measures of the World Customs Organisation; and represents the business interests of a broad range of business entities that takes into account regional and geographic factors, as well as the size of enterprises," Karera said.

Membership includes 30 companies and associations, from across the world and representatives of a variety of international trade interests.

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