Trade Policy and Market Access
Uganda has been a member of the WTO since January 1995. The government has shown commitment to trade liberalization over a long period. This is in line with the general orientation towards more liberalization in the two regional organizations, of which Uganda is a member, namely the Eastern African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Since both communities set customs and foreign trade regulations for their member states respectively, conflicting obligations under each organization make the compliance with each organization difficult. For example, as a member of COMESA, Uganda applies a preferential tariff on imports from COMESA member states of 0 per cent for raw materials and plant and machinery, 4 per cent for intermediate goods, and 6 per cent for finished goods whereas the EAC common external tariff (CET) has been Uganda’s main trade policy instrument since 2005. Uganda’s average MFN applied tariff in 2012 was 12.8 per cent. On the one hand, agricultural products faced the high average tariff rates of 19.9 per cent. The tariffs were applied at ceiling rates of 80 per cent, which is the maximum bound rates of Uganda, on some products in sugars and confectionery groups. On the other hand, non-agricultural products faced low average tariff rate of 11.6 per cent and 40 per cent of tariff lines fell under duty-free applied rate. However, there exists high uncertainty in MFN applied rates as Uganda's tariff bindings cover 15.9 per cent of all its tariff lines, i.e. all tariff lines for agricultural products, and 2.9 per cent of total lines for non-agricultural products.
Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2014, Country Report (Uganda)
Standard Compliance and Other Relevant Import/Export Restrictions
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries (MAAIF) is responsible for initiating the formulation and review of laws, regulations, standards, strategies, and plans related to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. It is also in charge of the regulation of livestock and livestock products, fish and fish products, the registration and use of pesticides and other agri-chemicals. Various institutions share responsibility for the implementation of food safety controls. Uganda's agricultural exports have been rejected several times in foreign markets due to failure to meet SPS requirements. Despite the importance of SPS issues at hand, there is no formal structure for the application of SPS measures at the regional level. Moreover, under the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) Act 1983, the UNBS is the sole statutory organization responsible for the formulation, promotion, and enforcement of standards and technical regulations. According to the 2012 WTO Trade Policy Review, a total of 1,429 technical regulations had been made as of July 2012, and 1,228 of them are based on international standards. Standards and technical regulation are also developed at the EAC level. For example, under the East African Standards Committee (EASC), some 1,200 voluntary standards have been harmonized for uniform application by EAC members.
WTO, 2012, Trade Policy Review (EAC: Uganda)