Arusha, TANZANIA -The East African Community (EAC) has issued regulations to improve the EAC Standardization, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing Act (SQMT) of 2006.
SQMT regulations are geared towards facilitating regional trade, the Secretariat announced through a press release.
The regulations were approved by the Council of Ministers in November 2013 and are issued in line with Article 6 of the Protocol on Establishment of the EAC Common Market, with reference to Free Movement of Goods.
Article 6 of the Protocol stipulates, among other laws, that the free movement of goods shall be governed by the EAC SQMT Act, 2006 and regulations made thereunder.
The regulations include: The EAC SQMT (Product Certification in Partner States) Regulations, 2013; The EAC SQMT (Designation of Testing Laboratories) Regulations, 2013; and The EAC SQMT (Enforcement of Technical Regulations in Partner States) Regulations, 2013.
The EAC SQMT (Product Certification in Partner States) Regulations, 2013 provides for certification bodies in the partner states on the basis of product standards.
The regulations will facilitate the issuance of quality marks on products conforming to regional and international standards and provide consumer confidence of the products traded in the region. They would also provide for emphasis on recognition of each Quality Marks issued by other Partner States in conformity assessment of goods moving across borders.
The EAC SQMT (Designation of Testing Laboratories) Regulations, 2013; provides for the ministers responsible for Trade in the Partner States to designate Testing Laboratories to be recognised in the region.
The regulation will facilitate an organized recognition of testing laboratories to test the goods for conformity assessment of goods in the region.
The EAC SQMT (Enforcement of Technical Regulations in Partner States) Regulations, 2013; provides for Partner States to declare or notify a technical regulation which may create barriers to trade and obliges Partner States upon request to explain the justification for that technical regulation.
The mentioned regulations are expected to be approximated and/or aligned with the existing national las required by the EAC Treaty.
According to recent statistics, trade between the EAC and the rest of Africa doubled to $4 billion last year from $2 billion in 2010.
The bloc also registered significant growth of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from $2.6 billion in 2010 to $3.8 billion last year.
“EAC was the fastest growing region within the African continent. Growth registered rose from 3.7% between 2010 and 2012 against the average sub Saharan Africa growth of 3.2%”, said the deputy secretary general in charge of Projects and Programmes Ms Jesca Eriyo.
There had been a remarkable improvement in intra-EAC trade over the years, although the integration process was still faced with a number of challenges.