EAC declares Fridays as "Afrika Mashariki Fashion Day"
East African Community Secretariat, Arusha, Tanzania, 19th September, 2019: The East African Community has declared Fridays as ‘Afrika Mashariki Fashion Day’ during which East Africans will wear attires manufactured in the region.
The 36th Extra-Ordinary Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) further declared the 1st Week of September an ‘Afrika Mashariki Fashion Week’ to be held annually as a Trade Fair and Exhibition of EAC designed textiles and garments.
The SCTIFI urged EAC Partner States that produce cotton to set up national cotton lint buffer stock mechanisms to ensure all year-round availability of locally produced cotton lint to spinning mills.
The Ministerial Session of the 36th SCTIFI which was chaired by Rwanda’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Ms. Soraya M. Hakuziyaremye, approved the Final Draft Cotton, Textile and Apparels (CTA) Strategy and the Implementation Roadmap.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Hakuziyaremye said that for the EAC region to reap maximum benefits from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), it was imperative to enhance the region’s productive capacity. Ms. Hakuziyaremye called for urgent implementation of a number of outstanding EAC Summit decisions and directives especially in the textile, leather and automotive industries, in addition to resolving Non-Tariff Barriers.
She reminded the Ministers that AfCTA Summit had directed that the implementation of the agreement should commence by 1st July, 2020 necessitating EAC Partner States to conclude their Tariff Offers by the agreed dates.
Other Ministers present at the meeting were Hon. Jean Marie Niyokindi (Minister for Trade and Industry, Burundi), Hon. Peter Munya (Minister for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Kenya), Hon. Kafabusa Michael (Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Uganda), Hon. John Dor Majok (Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning, South Sudan), and Hon. Innocent Bashungwa (Minister for Industry and Trade, Tanzania).
The Ministers called on Partner States to give priority to the implementation of the Cotton, Textiles and Apparels (CTA) Strategy by providing budgets for the activities, as relevant to specific countries, in the 2020/2021 Financial Year.
The SCTIFI directed the Standards Committee to assess and advise on feasibility of the Pre-shipment Verification of Conformity (PVoC) of all imports of textiles and ready-made garments (RMGs) into the region, as a measure to control illicit imports of worn out or used textiles and garments.
The meeting further approved the Draft Leather and Leather Products Sector Strategy and the Implementation Roadmap, and urged Partner States to give priority to the implementation of the Strategy by including the activities, as relevant to each country, in the next Financial Year’s national budgets.
The Council was informed of case studies of investment in the leather and leather products in Vietnam and Ethiopia. Due to government support, Vietnam had become the second largest footwear exporter after China exporting more than 1 billion pairs of shoes and accounting for 7.4 per cent of global supply.
Ethiopia, on the other hand, has recently emerged as a world-class player in leather footwear due to its low cost skilled labour, improvements in the quality of its raw material supply, the stable business climate, and the establishment of special economic zones. The country is attracting an increasing number of investors who use the country as a production site targeting the EU and US markets. Shoes from Ethiopia are also increasingly gaining popularity in East Africa.
On Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), the SCTIFI directed Partner States to eliminate all the outstanding NTBs from the EAC Time Bound Programme. The Ministers further directed the Secretariat to always schedule a one day session of Ministers with the East African Business Council and other Private Sector stakeholders before every SCTIFI to deliberate on issues of concern to the private sector including NTBs.
The recommendations of these engagements would then be escalated to the Council of Ministers and eventually the Summit. It was noted that among the causes of NTBs include: non-harmonisation of excise duty amongst Partner States; lack of a common framework for harmonisation of local content; multiple trade facilitation agencies; persistent stays of application; non-implementation of recommendations from studies and verification missions, and; non-recognition of standards quality marks.
On AfCTA, the SCTIFI agreed on a time-frame of 10 years for Category A products and 13 years for Category B products to be adopted by the EAC for tariff liberalization for the AfCTA as a customs union. Category A products refer to non-sensitive products to be liberalized first. Category B products, on the other hand, will be liberalized from the 6th year after the commencement of tariff dismantling.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
The 19th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held in February 2018 in Kampala, Uganda, with regard to promoting Cotton, Textiles, Apparels and Leather industries in the region and make the region more competitive and create jobs, decided to prioritize the development of competitive domestic and textile and leather sectors to provide affordable, new and quality options of clothing and leather products to EAC citizens. The Summit directed the Council of Ministers to put in place mechanisms that support textiles and leather manufacturing in the region.
In fulfilment of the Summit directive, the EAC Secretariat received support from TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to facilitate the development of Regional Strategic Plans for (i) Cotton, Textiles and Apparels Strategy (CTA) and (ii) Leather and Leather Products Sectors. The two strategies were presented at country consultative workshops in the months of December 2018 and January 2019. Inputs from the workshops were incorporated and considered at Experts Group Meetings held in February 2019. Technical feedback from the experts group meetings were incorporated into the strategies which were then validated and adopted in April 2019 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, represented the Secretary General.
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The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudna, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
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