Nairobi, Feb 1st, 2018. By Olem Edward,
Kenya and Tanzania have underscored the need to eliminate Non Tarrif Barriers and ease market access for each other’s products and services as a means enhancing trade with each other.
This comes in a wake of declining trade volumes between the two countries over the last five years. Kenya’s exports to Tanzania declined from US $38 Billion in 2012 to US $32 Billion in in 2016. Likewise, Tanzania exports to Kenya declined from US $19Billion in 2014 to US $13 Billion in 2017.
In a meeting held in Mombasa, the two Partner States deliberated on, inter-alia, trade related concerns ranging from multiple charges on levies, lack of preferential treatment, delays, inspection fees, non-payment of suppliers by Uchumi and Nakumatt supermarkets, slow customs procedures and slow implementation of the relevant East African Community directives.
In this regard, the two Partner States called for effective and timely implementation of agreements made during bilateral meetings with a view to ease the flow of goods and services.
The meeting came to agreement on among other matters that:
· The EAC Secretariat should come up with a Regional Policy Framework to address challenges facing the retail sector to have a joint code of practice and regulations;
· Chiefs of Immigration Services from the two countries to convene a meeting to resolve immigration issues between the two Partner States by 28th February 2018;
· United Republic of Tanzania to undertake verification exercises on lubricants, edible oils, and cement in Kenya by 31stMarch 2018;
· United Republic of Tanzania to expedite ratification process and implement EAC Sanitary and Pyto-Sanitary Protocol, which requires EAC Partner State to establish regulatory institutions and harmonize SPS control measures. KEBS and TFDA to cooperate on harmonization of SPS measures.
· The Republic of Kenya to establish Food and Drugs Authority;
· The Republic of Kenya and United Republic of Tanzania agreed to continuously engage in regard to the implementing the Single Customs Territory system (KRA and TRA) and;
· The Meeting urged EAC Secretariat to speed up the development of EAC Regional Cargo Tracking System and its adoption by all EAC partner States.
The meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary, State Department for Trade, and Prof. Elisante Ole Gabriel, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment of the United Republic of Tanzania. In attendance were: Ms. Betty Maina Principal Secretary, East African Community Affairs and Integration, Kenya; Prof Adolf F. Mkenda, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania; Amb. Boniface Muhia, Ag. High Commissioner of Kenya in Tanzania; Hon. Amb. Dr. Pindi Chana, High Commissioner of Tanzania in Kenya.
Others were; Khalfan S. Saleh, Vice Consul General of Tanzania in Mombasa, Kenya; Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Association of Manufactures; and, Mr. Gilead Teri Director of Policy Advocacy and Lobbying, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation.
Private sector representatives from the two states made presentations highlighting trade and investment issues between Kenya and Tanzania. The Meeting took note that there existed opportunities between Kenya and Tanzania for new areas of co-operation. These include; aviation, mining, petroleum and transportation.