The 10th Ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO MC10) was held for the first time on Africa’s soil in Nairobi, Kenya from December 15th to 19th, 2015. The conference adopted a number of decisions now referred to as the Nairobi Package. This meeting brought together East African WTO negotiators who discussed the MC10 outcomes, foreseeable challenges, and the way forward.

Worldwide, the relatively low tariff levels are now less of a burden for exporters than non-tariff barriers. Despite their preferential market access to target markets like the EU and US, East African exporters continue to face non-tariff barriers such as license requirement and standards which hamper the full realization of their trade potential.

The Nairobi ministerial conference, the first-ever to be held in sub-Saharan Africa, reached several decisions including in the areas of agriculture, cotton, LDC issues and information technology. This note reviews these decisions in light of East African countries’ interests in WTO negotiations, to help delegates reflect on their implications, lessons learned, and mapping out the next steps going forward.

This session organised as part of the ICTSD Trade and Development Symposium on the side lines of the conference aimed to demonstrate how synergizing trade and climate regimes at multilateral, regional and national level can enhance food security and improve livelihoods, in the context of the EAC region.

At the Nairobi 10th WTO Ministerial Conference this month, trade ministers reached a long-overdue decision that will eliminate export subsidies on agricultural products. This is a welcome step that will prevent future the use of such trade-distorting measures. But the bigger elephant in the room remains the all more difficult, unfinished negotiations on eliminating domestic subsidies which are far more important and harmful to producers in poor countries.