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New Partnership Between Industrialists, Law Firm to Ease Cross-Border Trade Disputes :: Uganda Radionetwork
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New Partnership Between Industrialists, Law Firm to Ease Cross-Border Trade Disputes

Ezra Muhumuza, the Chief Executive Officer at UMA says this move was informed by the expansion of the markets for Ugandan manufacturers, including the East African Community, COMESA, and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, as well as the international market.

Audio 4

Uganda Manufacturers Association has partnered with legal firm, ALP East Africa, to ease the handling of trade-related conflicts by the business community while conducting business locally and across borders.

This will ensure a centralized approach to trade conflicts and other challenges Ugandan businesses face in the region, as well as equip them with the relevant knowledge of their rights and obligations when doing business. 

Ezra Muhumuza, the Chief Executive Officer at UMA says this move was informed by the expansion of the markets for Ugandan manufacturers, including the East African Community, COMESA, and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, as well as the international market. He says that as they take on these markets, there is a need for the industry to be prepared well enough for legal challenges including encountering non-tariff barriers.

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This comes at a time when the East African countries are in constant conflict over nontariff barriers especially the blocking of goods and services, capital, and labor across borders, despite these being freedoms that formed the basis of the EAC.

The thriving of the NTBs has been blamed on the lack of enforcement mechanisms which has allowed individual partner states to practice what the business community calls unfair trade practices. Deo Kayemba, the UMA Board Chairperson, says that business litigation has been one of the major challenges of the business community, despite the frameworks available, including the regional and local courts. He hopes that this move will help them overcome these challenges.

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Alternative forms of legal redress are at the center of this partnership, according to the two parties. Currently, most of the conflicts end up in the courts of law which can take far too long before being disposed of, and trillions of Shillings remain locked up as the cases go on. 

On top of that, Francis Gimara, the head of ALP East Africa says, the Memorandum of Understanding will make it cheaper for disputants to get legal services across borders, specifically in Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, and Tanzania where they operate.

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Gimara says they are well positioned to make a difference for the business community, not only because of their expertise but that they already have a fully-fledged department in their company dedicated to cross-border trade disputes.

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