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EU-EAC MARKUP Policy Brief No. 4: EAC Harmonised Criteria for Registration and Certification of Pre-Packaged Foods

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MARKUP, through GIZ, has developed a Policy Brief to outline the key harmonised requirements, processes and procedures as set in the EAC harmonised criteria for registration and certification of pre-packaged foods. It also outlines the roadmap towards adoption and effective implementation of the criteria.

Despite the existence of the EAC Standardization, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing (SQMT) Act of 2006, the cross-border trade of food in the East African Community is still hampered by non-tariff measures (NTMs). Each of the six EAC Partner States has different regulations and procedures for the enforcement of food standards. Many of the differences are caused by the procedures for the enforcement of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) requirements, especially for foods where there are no harmonised EA standards and which are therefore manufactured according to international, national or company standards. The resulting inconsistencies create a great deal of uncertainty for the business community concerned and increase the cost of doing business in the region.

Therefore, the EAC has developed a framework for facilitating the cross-border trade of pre-packaged food and non-medicinal cosmetic products. It provides clear and transparent harmonised criteria for registration, certification and border verification/clearance of pre-packaged foods. The implementation of these criteria will achieve broader cooperation and collaboration among the competent authorities of the EAC Partner States, enhance trade facilitation and protect consumers of pre-packaged foods. In principle, the criteria shall form a basis upon which the EAC Partner States accept the results of each other’s control systems for pre-packaged foods as providing the same level of protection. 

The Policy Brief is available for download here.