Over 80 percent of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) reported through the online system developed within the tripartite COMESA-East African Community and South African Development Community has been resolved, COMESA said in a statement.
According to a status report presented at the ongoing COMESA Policy organs meeting in Addis Abeba, 476 NTBs have so far been reported on the online system, http://www.tradebarriers.org out of which 385 have been resolved. Seven were considered non-actionable.
Currently, eight categories of NTBs have been identified as most restrictive to trade in the region. They include Government participation in trade and restrictive practices tolerated by governments; lengthy customs and administrative entryprocedures; technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures.
Others are specific limitations including quantitative restrictions, and quotas; charges on imports; transport, clearing and forwarding; and issues related to transit clearance; and other procedural restrictions. It is notable that no NTB of the SPS related category have lately been reported meaning that Member States are applying the health and sanitation measures judiciously.
“Part of the reason why reported NTBs take long to resolve is the different understanding the parties involved have regarding them,” says the report.
Customs and administrative entry procedures lead in the number of NTBs reported at 37% followed by transport, clearing and forwarding with 17% and other procedural problems with 15%. The three categories account for 69% of the reported NTBs.
The online system was developed within the context of the Tripartite Arrangement among COMESA, EAC and SADC, for reporting, monitoring and eliminating NTBs. It is a systematic way of capturing, storing, monitoring and tracing progress towards elimination of NTBs among the tripartite countries. This dynamic online system provides a systematic and transparent process for identification and elimination of barriers to trade in the tripartite region.
Cover Photo: at the COMESA Council of Ministers Meeting