Tuesday, September 22, 2009

East Africa: Comesa Delegates Review Operations of Committee on Trade in Service

Source: The Herald, 17 September 2009

THE Common Market for East and Southern Africa's Committee on Trade in Service held its first meeting in the resort town of Victoria Falls last week where delegates reviewed the operations of the committee.

In a communiqué released after the meeting, delegates agreed to adopt its Rules of Procedure, which provide for the composition of the committee, the conduct of meetings and other matters.

In addition they also adopted the guidelines for the negotiation of trade in services which would guide countries in the preparation of schedules of specific commitments and operationalising the regulations on trade in services.

The meeting agreed on an indicative list of priority service sectors in which each member state is expected to make commitments. The indicative sectors would be confirmed once member states complete national consultations by the middle of December 2009.

The indicative priority sectors which have been identified due to their central infrastructural functions and their role in the competitiveness of economies are: financial, communication, business, transport, tourism, energy and construction and related engineering services.

A roadmap was adopted according setting May 2010 as the date when the committee would commence services negotiations after countries have prepared their requests and offers.

The issues agreed to were in line with the objectives of the meeting which included adopting the rules of procedure of the Committee, to consider and adopt the negotiating guidelines on Trade in Services.

The meeting was officially opened by Ministry of Industry and Commerce's Director for International Trade Mrs Beatrice Mutetwa who outlined the functions of the committee as specified in Article 16 of the Treaty and urged the delegates to work hard to make the work of the committee successful.

The Director of Trade, Customs and Monetary Affairs at the Comesa Secretariat, Dr Francis Mangeni pointed out that after the Regulations on Trade in Services had been adopted by Council on June 4 implementation was the next task.

In that respect, he urged the meeting to consider and adopt the guidelines for the negotiations on trade in services and to subsequently prepare schedules of specific commitments.