Government has urged the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to consider amending existing trade laws to enable member states trade competitively.

Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame said there is need for COMESA to ensure that member states benefit from regional trade integration.

ZANIS reports that the Permanent Secretary said this in a speech read for her by Deputy Director for Foreign Trade Paul Mumba at a COMESA Trade and Customs technical committee meeting in Lusaka today.

Ms Kayula urged participants of the Trade and Customs meeting to review the necessary pieces of legislation that will ensure that member countries trade fairly.

This comes from concerns raised by Kenya over safeguarding its sugar industry from shocks arising from the deepening trade and economic integration in the COMESA region.

And speaking at the same meeting, COMESA Assistant Secretary General Kipyego Cheluget said there is need for the regional economic block to ensure that industries in the regional economic bloc are protected whilst promoting free trade and economic integration in the region.

Ambassador Cheluget stated that though trade liberalization has immense benefits, trade agreements in the COMESA region contain clauses to address adverse effects resulting from regional trade liberalization as is the case with Kenya.

Dr Cheluget said the COMESA Treaty under article 48 on rules of origin does allow the according of preferential tariff treatment for products within the region.

He also pointed out that there is need for member countries to ensure that they adopt and migrate from paper-based transactions to electronic transactions.

And Dr Cheluget has revealed COMESA is in the process of establishing a regional Electronic Certificate of Origin that secures electronic certificate of origin to exporter and will improve data capture, accuracy, verification, document control and reduce costs and save time.

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