The Non-Tariff Barriers (NTB) in the East African Community bloc continue to hinder trade among the countries within the bloc.
The region has been fighting against these barriers but with limited success over the years.
Nicholas Nesbitt, the newly appointed East African Business Council (EABC) chairman says trade among East African Community (EAC) member states declined by 10.1% between 2013 and 2014, and fell further by 14.6% between 2015 and 2016.
According to Nesbitt, “This is not a good sign for regional business.” He also blames restrictions on the export and import of certain goods among partner states.
He also said that intra-regional trade can be improved through improvement of technological infrastructure to fast-track movement of goods and services.
He added that border procedures were still cumbersome despite the recent launch of one-stop border posts, which are meant to facilitate trade among member states.
According to the EAC Trade and Investment Report 2016, intra-regional trade declined markedly in 2015.
In 2016, total trade declined by 19.5% to $44.6 billion from $55.4 billion in 2015.
The fall was attributed to fluctuations in demand and prices of exports as a result of an unfavourable global economic environment.
Total exports declined by 6.8% to $14.9 billion from $16.0 billion in 2015, while imports fell by 24.6% to $29.7 billion in 2016 from $39.4 billion in 2015.