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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

East Africa seeks to harmonize standards to boost trade   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- East African Community (EAC) member states are set to meet in March to fast track harmonization of standards of goods to help boost regional trade, an official said on Friday.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS) Managing Director Charles Ongwae told Xinhua in Nairobi that the standards bodies of the each of the six member states are set to agree on single standards for the most commonly traded goods.

“The aim of the meeting is to develop harmonized standards for food and chemical products manufactured in the region so as to facilitate intra-regional trade,” Ongwae said during the Kenya Standards Forum in Nairobi.

EAC member states include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

Ongwae said harmonization of standards leads to mutual recognition of national standards across the region thereby eliminating the need for multiple testing of products at border points.

Ongwae said the trading bloc has so far harmonized 1,330 standards for goods out of a possible 9,011 standards.

He noted that common standards across the region will help the economic bloc to fully implement the EAC Common Market Protocol.

The managing director said that lack of harmonized standards is the biggest cause of non tariff barriers in regional trade.

“So, the trading bloc is committed to promote trade via the smooth flow of goods across borders through mutual recognition of national standards,” he added.

He revealed that the EAC harmonized standards will be a building bloc for the establishment of Africa wide standards.

             

 

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