Uganda asks world trade body to make markets available

Traders in Kikuubo, downtown Kampala. Asia remains the major source of Uganda’s imports, according to the Trade ministry. FILE PHOTO

What you need to know:

LDCs faced a higher trade deficit in the period 2000-2013, importing more than they exported.

Kampala- The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have expressed the need to trade more freely with developed members in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) .

In an annual report which the WTO Secretariat presented to the sub-committee on LDCs’ market access last week, Uganda, presently the coordinator of the LDCs, said WTO member countries—mostly the wealthy ones, need to open up their markets for products from poor economies.

Uganda also suggests that there should be more trading between each other as it is a far better alternative compared to relying on aid from the Most Developed Countries (MDCs).

“Uganda (representing the LDC group) highlighted the challenges faced by LDCs, and called upon members to open up markets for LDC products and to increase aid for trade to LDCs,” reads the report which provides an overview of the market access for LDC products in developing and developed economies as well as the non-tariff measures that affect access to these markets.

The report further indicated a good reception from LDCs such as Uganda, the analysis of LDCs’ trade in services and urged members to put the WTO 2011 LDC Services Waiver decision into action as LDCs and others called for the full and timely implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access.

The sub-committee also underlined the importance of simplified rules of origin to facilitate LDC exports. LDCs are currently facing challenges in complying with preferential rules of origin.

Rules of origin are the criteria needed to determine the national source of a product. To benefit from the duty-free and quota-free access, exporters from an LDC need to comply with the criteria set by the importing country to determine where the product was from.

The Bali decision of preferential rules of origin provides a set of guidelines for members to formulate their rules of origin for LDCs in a transparent, simple and objective manner.

Uganda also welcomed the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF’s), funding which is meant to assist LDCs in articulating their development needs.

Uganda’s Export Trade
According to the Trade minister, Amelia Kyambadde, in 2013, Uganda recorded total export earnings of $ 2.82 million, which is a 2.4 percent increase from $2.81 million of 2012.
The total value of imports declined by 3.7 per cent in 2013 from $ 6.0 million to$ 5.8 million.

“Our trade deficit improved from $ 3,284.6 million in 2012 to $ 3,042.1 million in 2013. The Asian continent remained the major source of Uganda’s imports while the COMESA regional bloc maintained its lead as the main destination for Uganda’s exports,” Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde said.