Kenya and Tanzania have agreed to conduct joint verifications exercise which once established will see goods such as lubricants, edible oils, cement and textiles produced outside Export Processing Zone trade un-prohibited between the two countries.
Lack of preferential treatment for certain goods produced in the region citing rules of origin and application of Non-Tariff barriers have seen trade between East Africa’s two leading economies plummet in the las two years.
In a joint communique signed by the Principal Secretary for Trade Dr. Chris Kiptoo and his Tanzanian counterpart Prof. Adolf Mugenda following three days of intensive talks, the duo underscored the significance of having regular bilateral meetings to discuss concerns and opportunities with a view of promoting trade for the mutual benefit of the two countries and its people.
In the course of the meeting which took place at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam, the two sides deliberated on inter-alia concerns related to the retail sector, customs, freight forwarding, administrative bottlenecks and implementation of the East African Community (EAC) directives including the Single Customs Territory system to hasten clearance of goods across the borders.
Other matters discussed included the need to ratify and implement the EAC SPS Protocol, which requires partner States to establish regulatory institutions and harmonize control measures besides speedily development and adoption of cargo tracking system.
The Principal Secretaries called upon immigration chiefs to convene regular bilateral meeting to resolve some immigrations issues which technical committees felt did note encourage trade and investment between the two countries.
Dr. Kiptoo said Tanzania was Kenya’s second largest export market in the EAC block and the sixth in the world. “Kenya’s investment in Tanzania by 350 companies is worth over 1.5 billion US dollars and offer employment to about 50,000 people in that country”, said the PS
The meeting noted that the directive issued jointly by H.E Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and H.E John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania regarding the free flow of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, wheat flour, milk and milk products had been fully implemented.