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COMESA urged to speed up integration

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

COMESA urged to speed up integration

By Judith Akolo

4 September 2006

Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa - Comesa member countries ought to speed up the process in setting up a unified customs union.

Trade and Industry PS David Nalo says Comesa countries stand to lose trade opportunities with the European Union and the US if they do not enlarge the trading region by establishing a customs Union.

Speaking at the start of a three day high level meeting of senior officials of the customs union, Nalo said large manufacturers and investors are more interested in larger markets which can be created through establishing a customs union for the Comesa region.

Preferential trade with the EU is set to end in 2008 and a solution lies in negotiating the Economic Partnership Agreements, EPAs.

Comesa Secretary General Erastus Mwencha observed that African countries ought to make progress in negotiating the agreement and effectively utilize the transition period of 25 years through increasing technical capacity.

Nalo appealed for harmonization of policies between Comesa and Southern Africa Development Corporation SADC in order to ease trade among the member countries.