Non-State Actors and Trade Facilitation in the East African Community Regional Integration: Case of Trademark East Africa
Abstract:The significance of non-state actors in international trade is not new, they play a major role in foreign policy making of nations and significantly influence their trade facilitation behavior. Trade facilitation aims at making International trade easier by eliminating administrative delays, simplifying trade procedures, increasing transparency, security and incorporating Technology in trade processes. However, the role and effect of non-state actors and particularly Trade Mark East Africa in trade facilitation is usually undocumented thus undermining their contribution and sometime hard to demarcate their contribution from that of state actors.Using descriptive analysis the study investigated the role non-state actors in and in trade facilitation in East Africa regional integration respectively while focusing on the case of Trade Mark East Africa. To understand the role of non-state actors well the study used regression analysis to determine the effect of each specific action by non-state actors on trade facilitation. The study also established the challenges facing non state actors in trade facilitation using content analysis. The study used Questionnaires to collect data from staff of Trade Mark East Africa and One Stop Border point sectors. Multi sampling technique was used in selecting the respondents. Data collected was analyzed using Stata version 15 statistical packages to generate descriptive and inferential reports which were presented in the form of tabulations, percentages and inferential statistics. The study established a statistically significant positive relationship between infrastructure, custom governance, technology promotion and trade facilitation. Further the study found that insufficient training/ capacity building, financial challenge, Corruption and Poor infrastructure were main challenges that trademark as a non-state actor needed to address in order to effectively facilitate trade in east Africa community regional integration. The study concluded that Non-state actors play a major role in foreign policy making of nations and significantly influence their trade facilitation behavior and they should beef up capacity building in areas of interest. The study recommended that non state actors should work with member states to simplify complex trade processes in order to boost trade, with a clear focus on the operations of the electronic Single window systems. Funding and investment towards regional trade infrastructure and technology should be enhanced. Finally, on state actors should synergize their efforts with the government, all staff cadres at the one stop border points and other stakeholders for efficient delivery of their support initiatives.
Key words: Non-state actors, Regional integration, Trade facilitation, East African Community, Trade Mark East Africa