The third round of the negotiations of the EAC Common Market Protocol was held in
Mr. John Bosco Kanyangoga, Director, Institutional Relations and Policy, Advocacy Department, Private Sector Federation,
Mr Prudence Sebahizi, Executive Secretary, Rwanda Regional Integration Committee, Mr Uledi Mussa, Director, Trade, Investments and Productive Sectors, Ministry of East African Co-operation, Tanzania, Amb Ndayiziga Jeremie, Vice Chair HLTF, Ministry of EAC , Burundi, Mrs Edith Kateme Kassajja, Director, Ministry of East African Community Affairs, Uganda; and Mr Barrack Ndegwa, Director, Ministry of East African Community, Kenya are leading their respective delegations in the HLTF process.
During the opening of the meeting in Bujumbura on 20 September, the Vice Minister for East African Community Affairs, Burundi, Mr. Nduwimana Deogratias noted that the negotiations had encouraging indications. He said the Bujumbura round was the entry point of negotiations of some of the most crucial issues and critical requirements of a Common Market, including the outstanding issues on the right of establishment, right of residence and free movement of services.
Right of residence
Right of establishment
The delegates reached consensus on a number of provisions that will govern the Right of Establishment within the EAC Common Market. They provided in the draft Protocol that the Partner States shall abolish all restrictions on the right of establishment based on nationality of companies, firms and citizens of the Partner States. Such right shall be subject only to limitations justified on grounds of pubic policy, pubic security or public health.
With reservations that were recorded by Tanzania, for further consultations, the delegates provided in the draft Protocol that, among others, a national of a Partner State shall be enabled to “acquire/ access and use land and buildings situated in the territory of another Partner State for purposes of establishment”.
The specific issue of “acquiring/accessing” land and buildings was referred for further deliberations in the ongoing negotiation process.
Free movement of services
The meeting considered the provisions in the model Protocol that will govern the free movement of services within the EAC Common Market. They reached consensus on a number of key provisions that will govern the free movement of services within the EAC Common Market, in particular, the provision that the Partner States shall progressively remove existing restrictions and shall not introduce any new restrictions that will impede trade in services among the Partner States.
The EAC Secretariat which is providing support services to the HLTF informed the meeting that a study is being undertaken within the framework of EAC-EC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations on the state of play of the services sectors within the Partner States. The study when completed will be made available to the HLTF to inform some of the deliberations on trade in services. An interim report of the study would be tabled in the next meeting of the HLTF in
Due to time limitations, the meeting was not able to handle the agenda item on Transport Policy but agreed to consider it at the next meeting of the HLTF scheduled for 6 – 15 October 2008 in
With a determination to conclude the Common Market Protocol within the set time frame of December 2008, the HLTF resolved on the way forward, requesting the EAC Secretariat to provide an inventory of the status of the draft Protocol highlighting what has been agreed upon, what is outstanding and what needs to be referred/considered at higher policy levels of the East African Community, i.e. the Co-ordination Committee, Council of Ministers or the Summit to enable expedited progress.
The 3rd round of the negotiations in Bujumbura, 20-27 September 2008 followed the first and second rounds which were held in Kigali and Nairobi on 14-22 April 2008 and 18-23 August 2008 respectively. The HLTF agreed to handle the following items at its next meeting scheduled for 6 – 15 October 2008 in
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