Trade liberalisation versus regionalism: The case of Uganda.

Asiimwe, Arnold
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This paper evaluates the constructs of regionalism in the East African Community and the various factors applicable to Uganda in particular. Furthermore the study debates whether this particular regionalism is either a step towards trade liberalisation or a step away towards protectionism. The study was conducted through interviews with senior academic economists, state policy advisors, a director at the EAC and the various Ugandan ministries responsible for economic policy. Through these interviews, perspectives and opinions on the regional integration strategy of Uganda were identified. The results highlight the political, social and economic drivers driving regionalism being firstly a strong cultural and historic connection amongst member states. Moreover the integration framework provides Uganda a platform to overcome challenges such as access to ports and their security concerns. Economically, being a small market individually, integrating into a larger market increases their capacity to attract finance for development projects and achieve a more competitive business ecosystem through economies of scale. In regards to trade liberalisation; The EAC was identified to be a stride towards trade liberalisation due to overall decreased tariff barriers in the region against the RoW and increased bargaining power with the countries being able to speak as one voice in global trade frameworks.
Regionalism,Foreign trade regulation,Foreign economic relations-Uganda