- The Rwandan government has joined the East African Community (EAC) Customs Union to open its borders to free trade among neighbours and to compete with the region’s economic giants.
In a statement released by the bloc, the Union is intended to boost economic cooperation between the region’s members, stating that it will also pave the way for lower prices, as goods from member states would be duty free.
The Rwandan Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza said that expansion of the customs union is an achievement which will make Rwandans take pride on the country’s integration efforts.
He said that it is contradictory to the belief that the customs union would affect the economies of the partner states in a negative sense in terms of revenue erosion and competitiveness.
The Director General Customs and Trade EAC, Peter Kiguta said large economic region carries heavy weight if it is an integrated market with production, investment and trade linkage.
The Bloc’s statement further said the country has commenced implementing a three-band common external tariff (CET) structure, in which the raw materials and the capital goods are zero-rated while the intermediate goods attract 10 percent and finished goods draw 25 percent tax.
The CET structure is also framed to promote industrialisation in the region by reducing the production cost and by cushioning local manufacturers against cheaper imports and counterfeits.
According to reports, the intra-EAC trade has witnessed a growth of about 40 percent from 2004. Merger of Rwanda with Burundi enlarges the market size with the population of 120 million people and the combined GDP of around $60 billion.
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