Trading in the EAC (Definitions)

Trading in the EAC

  1. Certificate of Origin – In order for an exporter in the EAC to export goods of East African origin that will not attract import duties in the importing EAC country, the exporter must prove that the goods were produced or grown in the EAC. The accepted form of proof is a Certificate of Origin. Certificates of Origin (COO) are issued by authorities, usually the revenue authorities, in the exporting countries
  2. Citizen: A national of an East African country who is recognized as a nation by the laws of the East African country
  3. Common market: A single market in which there is free movement of capital, labour, goods, services and people. In this case, the single market is the countries of East Africa that have signed the legal document that established the Common Market, also known as the Common Market Protocol. The Common Market is defined in Article 1 of the Treaty.
  4. Company: Means a business that is legally registered as a company under the laws of the host East African country
  5. Dependent: A person who depends completely on a citizen of an East African country who is either a worker or self-employed. A dependent may be a son or daughter who is under eighteen years old OR a mother, father, sister, or brother of a working or self-employed citizen.
  6. East African Community: The East African Community (EAC) is a regional economic bloc made up of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. These six countries have come to an agreement to operate as a single market with free movement of goods, services, people and capital (money) within their shared borders.
  7. East African Community Common Market Protocol: The East African Community (EAC) Common Market is made up of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. These six countries have come to an agreement to operate as a single market with free movement of goods, services, people and capital (money) within their shared borders. The Common Market Protocol (CMP) outlines the policies, rules and regulations that govern the Common Market, including the freedoms and rights that are awarded to all citizens of East Africa.
  8. EAC Council of Ministers – The Council of Ministers is the central decision-making and governing Organ of the EAC. Its membership constitutes Ministers or Cabinet Secretaries from the Partner States whose dockets are responsible for regional co-operation.
  9. EAC Monetary Union: In the future the six EAC Partner States intend to operate as a monetary union, whereby the countries would share the same currency and coordinate their national monetary policies. The EAC Monetary Union Protocol sets out the groundwork for a monetary union within 10 years and allows the EAC Partner States to progressively converge their currencies into a single currency in the Community.
  10. EAC Observer status: Observer status allows a country to attend key EAC meetings but it cannot participate in decision-making or vote.
  11. EAC Passport – The EAC Passport is a travel document that was introduced in 1999 to ease travel within the East African Community (EAC). It can be issued alongside the Uganda national passport. The EAC passport is valid for ten years. It is only acceptable for use in the EAC. It cannot be used for travel outside East Africa.
  12. EAC Political Federation: The Political Federation is the ultimate goal of the EAC Regional Integration, the fourth step after the Customs Union, Common Market and Monetary Union. The EAC Political Federation would be a union of partially self-governing states under a central (federal) government.
  13. EAC Summit – The EAC Summit is a meeting of all Heads of States (presidents) from the six Partner States. It gives strategic direction towards the realisation of the goal and objectives of the Community.
  14. Excise Duty – Excise Duty is a tax imposed on locally produced goods mainly of luxurious nature and some imports. Examples include locally manufactured or imported soft drinks, cigarettes, alcoholic drinks, and spirits.
  15. Firm: A business that is not a company. The firm is legally registered according to the law in the country where it operates.
  16. Import Tariffs – Import tariffs are taxes imposed on imported goods and services.
  17. Inter State Pass – The Interstate Pass is a card that allows the holder to enter Kenya, Rwanda or Uganda with only an identification card or voter’s card as a means of identification. In other words, a citizen of the aforementioned countries does not need a passport to enter any of those three countries, provided they have the required forms of identification and a stamped Interstate Pass. The pass is issued at the point of exit namely at a country’s airports, ports or border posts.
  18. Labour: Workers and self-employed people.
  19. Ministry of East African Community Affairs – The Ministry of East African Community Affairs (MEACA) is in charge of the EAC integration process on behalf of an EAC Partner State.
  20. National Electronic Single Window – The Uganda Electronic Single Window (UeSW)also called the National Electronic Single Window (NeSW) – is a trade facilitation electronic (online) platform. The UeSW allows for the uploading of standard export/import information and documents necessary to fulfill all import/export and transit related requirements through a single point of entry, into an online system that can be accessed by all the parties involved in an import/export transaction.
  21. National of a Partner State: Anyone who is a national of an East African country according to the laws of that country.
  22. Non-Tariff Barriers/ Non-Tariff Measures – Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) or Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) to trade are measures other than ordinary customs tariffs (taxes on imports) that restrict trade in goods or services in some manner. NTBs can include but are not limited to overly restrictive sanitary, health and environmental protection standards, quotas, price controls, subsidies export restrictions, customs delays and corruption.
  23. One Stop Border Post – A One Stop Border Post (OSBP) is a border facility that combines the two border posts of two countries that share a common border into one single border post, in the same building. Furthermore, all border control functions take place within the same OSBP building.
  24. Partner States: The six East African countries – the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, The United Republic of Tanzania, the Republic of Uganda and South Sudan.
  25. Rules of Origin – Rules of origin are the criteria used to determine where a product was made. They help determine applicable import taxes, trade duties and trade restrictions on imported goods.
  26. Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS): Food safety (sanitary), animal and plant health (phytosanitary) requirements.
  27. Self-employed person: A person who is not employed by someone else but earns a living by doing something productive within the country e.g. accountants, consultants, business women and men.
  28. Simplified Certificate of Origin: A Certificate of Origin (COO) confirms the country of production of an item. Within the EAC, the EAC Simplified Certificate of Origin (SCOO) confirms that the goods in a consignment of under US$ 2,000 in value were grown or produced in an EAC Partner State (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda).
  29. Simplified Trade Regime – Under the EAC Customs Union, the Simplified Trade Regime (STR) is a special provision aimed specifically at small traders who regularly transact in low value consignments. An approved simplified certificate of origin (SCOO) exempts consignments of goods that: a) originate in the EAC and b) are valued at under US$ 2,000 from payment of import duty in the EAC destination country.
  30. Single Customs Territory – The Single Customs Territory (SCT) is a stage towards the full attainment of the Customs Union. While the Customs Union focuses on trade liberalization (elimination of internal tariffs and Non-Tariff Barriers), the SCT focuses on more efficient customs administration or trade facilitation. As part of the SCT, EAC countries have committed to the removal of restrictive regulations and the minimization of internal border controls on goods moving between Partner States.
  31. Spouse: A citizen (man or woman) who is legally married (according to the country’s laws) to a worker or a self-employed person who is a citizen of East Africa.
  32. Treaty: The key legal document created and signed for the Establishment of the East African Community as well as the document’s annexes.
  33. Value Added Tax: Value Added Tax (VAT) is a type of consumption tax that is placed on a product whenever value is added at a stage of production and at final sale.
  34. Worker: A natural person who performs services for and under the direction of another person in return for payment.


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