Given that the EAC regional bloc is a customs union and therefore has a Common External Customs Tariff (TEC) without the other three member states having yet ratified the AfCFTA, the integrity of the TEC will be problematic. Rules of origin can in principle limit this problem, but their liberal application will lead to higher overhead costs and increase the risk of trade diversion (thus diverting trade from a more efficient exporter to a less efficient exporter due to differences in tariffs). This could reduce the benefits of the AfCFTA. The greater the degree of harmonization of trade policy regimes within East Africa, the better, as it will facilitate deeper regional economic integration and pave the way for the creation of an Africa-wide customs union, as provided for in the AfCFTA agreement. Paul Brenton is a Chief Economist of the World Bank`s Trade and Regional Integration Unit (ETIRI) . . .