In the past, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have enjoyed a long history of co-operation under successive regional integration arrangements including;
- The Customs Union between Kenya and Uganda in 1917, which the then Tanganyika later joined in 1927;
- The East African High Commission (1948-1961);
- The East African Common Services Organisation (1961-1967);
- The East African Community (1967-1977) and
- The East African Co-operation (1993-2000).
Following the dissolution of the former East African Community in 1977, the Member States negotiated a Mediation Agreement for the Division of Assets and Liabilities, which they signed in 1984.
However, as one of the provisions of the Mediation Agreement, the three States agreed to explore areas of future co-operation and to make concrete arrangements for such co-operation.
Subsequent meetings of the three Heads of State led to the signing of the Agreement for the Establishment of the Permanent Tripartite Commission for East African Co-operation on November 30, 1993.
Full East African Co-operation operations started on March 14, 1996 when the Secretariat of the Permanent Tripartite Commission was launched at the Headquarters of the EAC in Arusha, Tanzania.