Remove NTBS that deny African countries market access opportunities, Kyambadde asks the UK

Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde has assured the United Kingdom of continued trade relations despite the UK­­s decision to exit the European Union. Kyambadde revealed this during the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium organised by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) on the sidelines of the ongoing 11th WTO Ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The symposium organized under the theme “Getting the future Africa-UK trade partnership right” was premised on the significant implications for Britain’s trade policy relationship with Africa following UK’s decision to exit the European Union. The symposium discussed the opportunities and challenges Brexit presents for African countries.

On 29th March 2017, UK triggered Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty which formally started its process of exiting the EU. The UK is currently on the move to establish the foundations of a strong and mutually beneficial long-term relationship that will provide continuity in the trade relationship between her and Africa.

Speaking during the symposium, Minister Kyambadde noted that just like many African countries, Uganda has a long relationship with the UK and would like to explore the huge untapped trade potential between the two countries. She said the bilateral trade between Uganda and UK demonstrates that there is a huge potential for Africa to increase its trade with the UK.

Uganda’s exports to the UK have tremendously dwindled from USD 58 million in 2012 to USD 16.5 million in 2016 while the imports have also reduced from USD 127 million in 2012 to USD 74.4 million in 2016.

Kyambadde attributed the decline in trade to the shift of trade to the Middle East and Asia, the shift in domestic policies from the export of raw commodities to value addition that the UK market has not yet fully adjusted to, increasing oil prices after the Arab spring and the uncertainty about the Brexit processes.

A panelist at the symposium and Economic Adviser on International Trade at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London Brendan Vickers said the immediate priority is to ensure at a minimum that existing market access is retained for all African countries following Brexit.

Vickers said the UK’s new trade policy offers an unprecedented opportunity to introduce a more comprehensive partnership framework that is more effective in supporting Africa’s integration, industrialization and development agendas and urged African countries to take advantage of this opportunity.

However, minister Kyambadde cautioned that the new policy after Brexit should not roll back the gains African countries like Uganda already had with UK while it was in EU and should have commercially meaningful duty free Quota free market access, at least for all Least Developed Countries.

Kyambadde added that the policy should include all products of export interest to African countries.

“The policy should be demand driven rather than supply driven and the list of the products to enjoy preference in whatever scheme UK comes up with should come from us”, explained Kyambadde.

She advised that the Africa- UK trade relationship after Brexit should encourage and support industrialisation and value addition. It must move Africa away from donation of value when our products are exported raw with little or no value addition. She added that the scheme should ensure that rules of origin and simple and not unnecessarily stringent.

“The future Africa trade relations should include a strong commitment to remove Non Tariff Barriers (NTBS) that deny African countries the opportunity to benefit from preferential market access opportunities”, said Kyambadde.

Nigeria’s Chief Negotiator in the WTO Osakwe Chiedu who was also a panellist agreed with minister Kyambadde and said the UK should put in mind that Africa is now working towards a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA)

On the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) that EAC is negotiating with the EU, Kyambadde suggested that the two parties consider a negotiated trade arrangement that goes beyond the few challenges we had with EPAs. She said despite the Brexit, Uganda is still committed to sign the EPAs but is still negotiating with other member States so that EAC signs as a bloc.

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The 11th WTO Ministerial Conference  was officially opened with a call from leaders from South America for inclusiveness and equality, and more efficiency of the multilateral trading system. The conference was taking place at Hilton Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 10th to 14th December 2017. Uganda delegation was led by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Hon. Amelia Kyambadde. Uganda's interests in the WTO negotiations are centered around agriculture, cotton, Non Agricultural market access, Trade in Services and Trade Related aspects of intellectual property rights.

Kyambadde assures UK of continued trade partnership despite Brexit

Uganda to benefit from USD$21.3 million grant from UK to promote trade

Ministers Statement on 11th WTO Ministerial Conference

 

Sugar Millers under their umbrella association the Uganda Sugar Millers Association have denied allegations of hording sugar so as to sell it at higher prices. This was during a meeting with the Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde on Tuesday 5th December 2017 at the Ministry offices in Kampala.

Kyambadde summoned the sugar millers after MPs vowed to table a motion on the floor of Parliament over the continuous high sugar prices. The Minister tasked the millers including Kakira Sugar, Kinyara, Lugazi Sugar and others to explain why sugar prices are still high yet they claim they have enough stock.

The millers led by their chairperson Mwine Jim Kabeho told the Minister that sugar prices are not controlled by sugar millers but it’s totally in the hands of wholesalers and retailers. They said factory prices have reduced from shs.198,000 per bag in June 2017 to the current shs.170,000 leading to retail prices going down to shs.4,000 and below in some areas.

“The recommended retail price by the millers is shs.3600 and some areas shs.3400, therefore on average retail prices should not go beyond shs.4,000 for premium or packed sugar”, explained Kabeho

Industrialization is certainly the key to Africa’s economic development with the ability to bring prosperity, new jobs and better incomes for all. However, Africa has remained less industrialized amidst calls to industrialize. In Uganda, the growth of the Industrial Sector remains at 3.4% with its contribution to GDP valued at 19.6%

Each year on 20 November Uganda joins the rest of Africa to commemorate Africa Industrialization Day (AID). The Day is aimed to raising global awareness of the challenges faced by the continent with regard to industrialization. The event also aims to mobilize both African leaders and international organizations to advocate for the accelerated and sustainable industrialization of Africa.

  Uganda has been commended for prioritizing infrastructure development especially energy and the road network which is a recipe for boosting regional trade. This was during the COMESA Council of Ministers meeting that sat in Lusaka, Zambia on Saturday 4th November 2017.

The COMESA Council of Ministers officiated by the Vice President of Zambia Her Honor Mrs. Inonge Wina unanimously commended Uganda for the progress made in fulfilling the objectives of the Common market, particularly in infrastructure development that has taken place in the two years especially energy and the road network.

Uganda is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and has taken steps to implement the COMESA Treaty. Uganda has made progress in the Domestication of the COMESA Treaty. In 2016, Uganda passed the COMESA Treaty Implementation Act. The COMESA Treaty Implementation Act (2017) gives the force of law to the Treaty Establishing the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa in Uganda.

 Uganda Export Promotion Board Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority Management Training and Advisory Centre Uganda National Bureau of Standards Uganda Industrial Research Institute