In Summary

Ministry of Trade senior commercial officer, Ritah Auma, revealed that Uganda has so far signed the agreement and is yet to approve it with the hope that it will expand trade opportunities

Kampala.

If negotiations under the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) fail to protect Uganda’s interests, the agreement could threaten the country’s economy, experts have warned.

The TFTA seeks to create a large single market with free movement of goods and services within EAC, SADC and Comesa. Member states are currently negotiating outstanding issues including tariff offers, rules of origin, trade remedies and dispute settlement.

Ministry of Trade senior commercial officer, Ritah Auma, revealed that Uganda has so far signed the agreement and is yet to approve it with the hope that it will expand trade opportunities.
This was during a dialogue organised by Southern and East Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (Seatini-Uganda) at Hotel Africana last Tuesday.

Senior economist Fred Muhumuza said Uganda could lose out if government fails to keenly understand the underlying business issues within the TFTA before it moves to ratify it.

“Do we know the issues for Uganda? What are the four industrial or service areas that we are saying these are sensitive to us and we are not going to negotiate them away?” Mr Muhumuza asked.
Mr Henry Nyakoojo, a business advisor at Private Sector Foundation Uganda, noted that although the TFTA is a good idea, it might be difficult to benefit from it as Uganda lacks the kind of products that it should offer to these markets.

The experts suggested that implementing the industrial policy and providing the right incentives for people to invest in manufacturing could reap big for Uganda.