The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The paper analyses the potential trade impact of the forthcoming East African Community (EAC) customs union. It examines the trade linkages among the member countries of the EAC and the extent to which the introduction of the EAC common external tariff will liberalize their trade regimes. To gauge the potential trade impact of the formation of the customs union, simulations are conducted for Kenya. The empirical results indicate that the customs union will have a beneficial effect on Kenya's trade. The paper does not draw any conclusions on the potential welfare impact of the customs union. Finally, factors other than enhanced trade might influence Kenyan policymakers to pursue regional integration, and these include regional cooperation in "behind the border" reforms and the provision of public goods.