Ugandans urged to take advantage of increasing market access

We are getting all these market accesses, we now have South Sudan in the East African Community, the market is expanding, but what do we take to these markets?

Cyprianbatalathecommissionerforexternaltradeattheministryoftradeindustryandcooperativesspeakingatthemeetingtodayatmetropolehot 703x422

Cyprian Batala, the Commissioner for External Trade at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives speaking at the meeting today at Metropole Hotel in Kampala. Photo by Billy Rwothungeyo

Ugandans need to be more productive to take advantage of the increasing market access emanating from the different trade negotiations that Uganda is taking part in, Cyprian Batala, the Commissioner for External Trade at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has noted.

“We negotiated the Economic Partnership Agreement (with the EU), we negotiated the Tripartite (with COMESA, EAC and SADC) and in all these, the key issue we are looking at is market access, but market access for what?” he said.

Speaking today at a stakeholder meeting organized by the Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI)-Uganda to assess the outcomes and implications of the 10th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference on Uganda’s prospects, Batala said people need to be aware of these market access opportunities.

“We are getting all these market accesses, we now have South Sudan in the East African Community, the market is expanding, but what do we take to these markets? It is easy to negotiate market access, but it is difficult to take advantage of this.”

The 10th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference, also known as the MC10 was concluded on 19th, December 2015 after 5 days of intense negotiations in Kenya.

The “Nairobi Package”, as the outcome of the MC 10 has been dubbed contained mainly six major decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to low income countries.

Nalunga Jane, the Country Director of SEATINI Uganda said it is important to always interrogate the outcomes of such high level deliberations as the affect Uganda’s trade prospects.

“MC10 is important because as LDCs, we had a number of demands. Did we get what we requested for? If we go, how do we use it? Sometimes our representatives negotiate for market access, but how do we use what we fight for?”

The “Nairobi Package” contains a number of commitments; which include: commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports, decisions covering public stockholding for food security purposes, a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries, and measures related to cotton.

Decisions were also made regarding preferential treatment for least developed countries (LDCs) in the area of services and Rules of Origin.

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