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Impact of EU Common Agricultural Policy reform on Uganda’s food trade with EU

Research report

Research report

Uganda is a signatory to a number of trade-related agreements, including the East African Community (EAC) customs union, the EAC common market protocol, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the multilateral World Trade Organization (WTO).

The country also has a number of bilateral and unilateral trade agreements with other developed economies, including the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the US, Everything But Arms (EBA) with the European Union (EU), the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) with China and the EU–Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Cotonou Partnership Agreement. All these initiatives are meant to expand market opportunities for the country’s exporters.

EU–Uganda trade relations

Uganda has two windows through which it accesses the EU market: EBA and the Cotonou Partnership Agreement and its successor, Regulation 1528 under the EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

The Council of EU Ministers launched EBA in March 2001, and this amendment to the European Community’s GSP has since regulated trade relations between the EU and least-developed countries (LDCs) (including Uganda) that have chosen to use the facility. The initiative grants duty-free access to all products from LDCs without any quantitative restrictions, except on arms and ammunitions, in line with the provisions of Article 37.9 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. EBA was not negotiated; it is non-reciprocal and its terms were set by the EU.

It is important to note that EBA lacks predictability and transparency in terms of setting an enabling environment for private sector growth. It can be withdrawn or modified at any given time, and countries are assessed periodically to ascertain whether they remain eligible to benefit.

Othieno Lawrence and Musa Mayanja Lwanga