International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories because there is a need or want of goods or services. In most countries, such trade represents a significant share of gross domestic product.
The EAC International Trade Department coordinates the initiation, development and implementation of policies and programmes in trade integration with third Parties.
As a Customs Union and Common Market, the EAC Partner States are obliged to coordinate their trade relations with third parties and to adopt common principles in particular in relation to:
- tariff rates;
- conclusion of tariff and trade agreements;
- the achievements of uniformity of measures of liberalization;
- export promotion strategies; and
- trade remedies.
In coordinating their trade relations, the EAC Partner States are to:
- adopt common negotiating positions in the development of mutually beneficial trade agreements with third parties; and
- promote participation and joint representation in international trade negotiations.
With this mandate, the EAC Secretariat coordinates the following trade negotiations:
- African Continental Free Trade Area Negotiations
- COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite FTA Negotiations
- EAC - EU EPA negotiations
- EAC - U.S. Trade and Investment Partnership
Under the multilateral framework, the EAC Secretariat coordinates joint Trade Policy Reviews (TPRs) for EAC Partner States which are undertaken under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Policy Review Mechanism.
So far, three (3) TPRs for the EAC Partner States have been undertaken jointly to comprehensively examine EAC trade and economic policies: 2006, 2012 and 2019. The Reports can be found on the WTO website: www.wto.org
Trade-Related Policies, Strategies and documents that have been developed:
- EAC Regional Trade Policy
- EAC E-Commerce Strategy
- EAC Export Promotion Strategy
- EAC Special Economic Zones Policy
- EAC Strategy for Trade in Services
- EAC African Growth Opportunity Act Strategy
- EAC Model Investment Treaty
- Trade Negotiations Framework with Third Parties
- Strategy on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)