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Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
What is COMESA?
•    The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) began in December 1994 when it was formed to replace the former Preferential Trade Area (PTA)

•    It has 19 member states comprising;
  Burundi, Comoros, DR Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, North Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
•    COMESA has;

    a population of over 470.26 million
    an annual import bill of around US$ 170,895 million
    an export bill of US$ 112,546 million

•    COMESA, currently a Customs Union, covers a geographical area of 12 Million (sq km) of Africa.
 
2.    Benefits of being a member of COMESA Customs Union

The benefits of COMESA Customs Union to the region include the following:

(i)    Common external tariffs or the taxes that are charged on imports are structured as follows:
a.    25% on finished products
b.    15% intermediate products
c.    capital good, inputs and raw materials the taxes will be zero rated
(ii)    Producers will get a large and wider market and can thus produce more goods;
(iii)    A large single market will encourage mass production of goods and services thereby lowering the cost of production by taking advantage of economies of scale.
(iv)    The COMESA Customs Union, through the Common External Tariff (CET), offers equal protection to all manufacturers against third country imports and minimizes the possibility of transshipment or trade deflection.
(v)    Through the CET, COMESA Customs Union will level the economic environment and promotes fair competition by reducing disparities in production costs for manufacturers in the various countries with regard to taxes on imported raw materials and intermediate goods from third countries.
(vi)    By offering a large market with harmonized trade policy, COMESA Customs Union has the potential to attract foreign investment seeking to exploit a large market.
(vii)    Traders will get wider choice of goods from the countries in the COMESA Customs Union;
(viii)    Traders will experience lower transactions costs and fewer delays at the borders due to the harmonized customs and other procedures.
(ix)    The countries by joining forces and having harmonized trade policy with a COMESA Customs Union against third parties will have a stronger voice in international forums.

3.    Common Market for Southern and Eastern Africa (COMESA) Free Trade Area
The COMESA Free Trade Area (FTA) was launched on 31 October 2000 with nine Member States. This was the first FTA in Africa under the African Union.
The FTA consists of 13 Member States trading on a full duty free and quota free basis, with the remaining countries at various stages of joining the FTA.
(i)    Member States
•    COMESA FTA Member States : Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, North Sudan, Rwanda, Seychelles, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
•    COMESA NON FTA Member States : Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Swaziland

(ii)    Exporting to COMESA Countries:
To benefit from duty free access in the COMESA region, an exporter must consign his products to countries belonging to the FTA.
THE FTA countries, also known as Group 1 Member States trade on a duty free, quota free basis.


Rules of Origin Requirements:

The exporter must also ensure that his products satisfy the Rules of Origin.

Products shall be considered and accepted as having COMESA preferential origin if they have undergone the following:
•    The goods have been wholly produced or obtained in the COMESA Member State; or
•    The goods have been produced in the COMESA Member State and the CIF value of any imported raw materials used in their production should not exceed 60% of the total cost of all materials used in their production; or
•    The value added resulting from the process of producing the goods from imported materials should account for at least 35% of the ex-factory cost of the goods; or
•    The goods should be produced in a Member State and be classified or become classified, after the process of production, under a tariff heading other than the tariff heading under which they were imported i.e. Change of Tariff Heading (CTH) rule.

Obtaining a COMESA Certificate of Origin:

The COMESA Certificate of Origin is issued and approved by Kenya Revenue Authority at Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret stations.
The documents required for approval are as follows:
1.    Duly filled COMESA Certificate of Origin
2.    Customs Declaration (Import and Export)
3.    Export Invoice
4.    Appropriate Certified Costing for value added requirements
5.    Export Permit (if applicable)
6.    Any other documents that may be required
 
 
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