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POLICY REVIEWS: SECOND PRESS RELEASE AND
Tanzania: March 2000
Members commended Tanzania for its strong support of the multilateral trading system. They were unanimous in commending Tanzania for its process of economic reform and liberalization. These steps have included the dismantling of import and export license procedures, the simplification of the tariff structure, the elimination of foreign exchange controls, and the broad efforts by the Government to create an environment more conducive to both foreign and domestic investment.
6 March 2000
POLICY REVIEW BODY: REVIEW OF TANZANIA
The Trade Policy Review Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded its first review of Tanzania's trade policies on 2 and 3 March 2000. The text of the Chairperson's concluding remarks is attached as a summary of the salient points which emerged during the discussion.
The review enables the TPRB to conduct a collective examination of the full range of trade policies and practices of each WTO member countries at regular periodic intervals to monitor significant trends and developments which may have an impact on the global trading system.
The review is based on two reports which are prepared respectively by the WTO Secretariat and the government under review and which cover all aspects of the country's trade policies, including its domestic laws and regulations, the institutional framework, bilateral, regional and other preferential agreements, the wider economic needs and the external environment. A record of the discussion and the Chairperson's summing-up together with these two reports will be published in due course at the complete trade policy review of Tanzania and will be available from the WTO Secretariat, Centre William Rappard, 154 rue de Lausanne, 1211 Geneva 21.
Since December 1989, the following reports have been completed: Argentina (1992 and 1999), Australia (1989, 1994 and 1998), Austria (1992), Bangladesh (1992), Benin (1997), Bolivia (1993 and 1999), Botswana (1998), Brazil (1992 and 1996), Burkina Faso (1998), Cameroon (1995), Canada (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1998), Chile (1991 and 1997), Colombia (1990 and 1996), Costa Rica (1995), C˘te dIvoire (1995), Cyprus (1997), the Czech Republic (1996), the Dominican Republic (1996), Egypt (1992 and 1999), El Salvador (1996), the European Communities (1991, 1993, 1995 and 1997), Fiji (1997), Finland (1992), Ghana (1992), Guinea (1999), Hong Kong (1990, 1994 and 1998), Hungary (1991 and 1998), Iceland (1994 and 2000), India (1993 and 1998), Indonesia (1991, 1994 and 1998), Israel (1994 and 1999), Jamaica (1998), Japan (1990, 1992, 1995 and 1998), Kenya (1993 and 2000), Korea, Rep. of (1992 and 1996), Lesotho (1998), Macau (1994), Malaysia (1993 and 1997), Mali (1998), Mauritius (1995), Mexico (1993 and 1997), Morocco (1989 and 1996), New Zealand (1990 and 1996), Namibia (1998), Nicaragua (1999), Nigeria (1991 and 1998), Norway (1991 and 1996), Pakistan (1995), Papua New Guinea (1999), Paraguay (1997), Peru (1994), the Philippines (1993 and 1999), Poland (1993), Romania (1992 and 1999), Senegal (1994), Singapore (1992 and 1996), Slovak Republic (1995), the Solomon Islands (1998), South Africa (1993 and 1998), Sri Lanka(1995), Swaziland (1998), Sweden (1990 and 1994), Switzerland (1991 and 1996), Tanzania (2000), Thailand (1991, 1995 and 1999), Togo (1999), Trinidad and Tobago (1998), Tunisia (1994), Turkey (1994 and 1998), the United States (1989, 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1999), Uganda (1995), Uruguay (1992 and 1998), Venezuela (1996), Zambia (1996) and Zimbabwe (1994).
We have had open and positive discussion on Tanzania's trade policies and measures. Members of the TPRB have been clearly impressed by Tanzanian's progress on economic reform begun in 1985, and pursued with renewed focus and vigour since 1995. These policies have seen real growth of Tanzania's GDP in the past few years. However, it has been acknowledged by all Members that, as one of the poorest nations in the global economy, Tanzania still has difficult challenges ahead, in particular a large foreign debt whose servicing poses a constraint on its economic development.
The large number of questions and comments from Members is a testimony to the importance of Tanzania in the region. It is also an indication of the level of interest in Tanzania's process of economic reforms.
Members commended Tanzania for its strong support of the multilateral trading system. They were unanimous in commending Tanzania for its process of economic reform and liberalization. These steps have included the dismantling of import and export license procedures, the simplification of the tariff structure, the elimination of foreign exchange controls, and the broad efforts by the Government to create an environment more conducive to both foreign and domestic investment. Particular note was made of Tanzania's natural endowments. It was felt that its recent successes in attracting significant levels of investment to its mining sector, which, it was anticipated, would provide notable benefits to the economy.
Members expressed concern in a number of areas, focusing both on the growth of imports and particularly on Tanzania's supply side constraints which prevents it from taking advantage of export opportunities. Mention was also made of governance issues and other regulatory obstacles which still impede activities of the private sector. Several Members referred to problems related to standards and to Tanzania's delay in implementing the WTO Agreement on Customs Valuation. Appreciation was, however, expressed of the fact that Tanzania had provided Members an early indication regarding this matter.
Members noted that the difficulties faced by Tanzania in implementing some of its WTO undertakings are not unique to Tanzania, but are shared by many Members. As a consequence, there was unanimous agreement that more attention needs to be given to the provision of technical assistance regardless of whether such assistance come directly from the WTO, through the mechanism of the Integrated Framework, or through other efforts such as the JITAP.
Members also asked for details in a number of more specific areas including:
Tanzania's participation in regional integration agreements, and in particular, its decision to withdraw from COMESA;
issues related to Tanzania's agricultural sector and plans for further diversification and export development;
reasons for the underdeveloped nature of the manufacturing sector and its significant decline in 1997;
Tanzania's ongoing process of privatizing its parastatal sector and the timetable for further privatizations, particularly in its financial services and telecommunications sector;
the escalatory tariff structure and, in particular, the suspension or exemption of a very high percentage of collectable duties;
the extent of tariff bindings and the significant gap that exists between applied and bound rates;
aspects of trade-related intellectual property rights, particularly the implementation of Tanzania's TRIPS commitments and enforcement efforts;
government procurement procedures and any plans to become a signatory to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement;
the transparency and implementation of the investment regime and further efforts to improve the business environment;
implementation of safeguards and other trade remedy legislation;
Tanzania's intention to make further services commitments under GATS, particularly with respect to telecommunications and financial services; and
implementation of competition policy.
Plaudits are owed to Minister Simba for the frank and comprehensive responses provided by him often made against the broad socio-economic matrix. Also Ambassador Mchumo is to be thanked for his role in this exercise. Members look forward to further responses to those questions which could not be specifically addressed during these two days. Tanzania's assurances of continued economic reforms and improvements in efficiency have been noted with satisfaction. Members also acknowledged the importance of coherence among institutions that provide advice related to trade issues and economic development.
In conclusion, it is my feeling that this has been a most successful Review of Tanzania's trade policies. Members welcomed Tanzania's determined efforts to improve its economic performance as well as the quality of life of its people through the alleviation of poverty and other measures. Tanzania is to be commended for its commitment to WTO principles and its leadership in both this institution as well as those in which it participates in its region. I encourage all Members to continue their support for Tanzania's efforts.