East African Common Market Protocol was signed on November 22, 2009 by the five EAC Heads of State during the summit to mark the EAC tenth annivarsary. The Protocol has already been ratified by all EAC Partner States and is expected to be implemented starting July 1, 2010.
The Common Market is the second stage of integration and in line with Article 5 of the EAC Treaty which stipulates that Partner States undertake to, among others, establish among themselves an EAC Customs Union and a Common Market, as a transitional stage and an integral part of the Community.
The overarching objective of establishing an EAC Common Market is to realise an accelerated economic growth and development; through the attainment of free movement of persons, labour, goods, capital and services, and the right of establishment and residence. It is envisioned that the Business Community will benefit from the Common Market through a more strengthened, coordinated and regulated economic and trade relations among Partner States. This, it is expected, will assist in promoting regional accelerated harmonious and balanced development.
The protocol has the following: Annex on the Free Movement of Persons; Annex to Remove Restrictions on the Free Movement of Workers; Annex on the Right of Residence; Annex on the Right of Establishment; Annex for Mutual Recognition of Academic and Professional Qualifications;Schedule on the Free Movement of Capital; Schedule on Trade in Services in the Community; Annex on Safeguard Measures
The Council is now expected to establish and confer powers and authority on institutions deemed necessary to administer the EAC Common Market. The EAC Secretariat is also expected to undertake a comprehensive review of the Treaty to identify any provisions that may require amendments to ensure the implementation of the Common Market.
(a) Partner States should enact the relevant enabling legislation to bring the provision of the Protocol into domestic law by August 31, 2010.
(b) Partner States should undertake a review of their domestic laws with a view to causing necessary amendments to be made to ensure that the same are consistent with the Treaty obligations arising from the Common Market Protocol by December 31, 2010.
(c) Partner States should commence the implementation of the Protocol by removing any existing restrictions on the freedoms enshrined in the Protocol and co-ordinating activities to ensure that areas where further work is to be undertaken is done within the period specified in each sector.
In May 2008, in partnership with the EAC, EABC organized a regional sensitization workshop in Arusha, which marked the formal introduction of the Business Community to Common Market issues. Recommendations arrived at the Common Market Sensitisation Workshop; May 2008 set the stage for our lobby activity in this area.
Within the framework of the Common Market Negotiations, EABC has followed these negotiations and we are at the moment focused on smooth implementation of the provisions of the Common Market Protocol.