Kenya blames the ongoing trade disputes between the member states of the East African Community (EAC) for incidents of dishonest traders who violate the rules of cross-border trade.
Adan Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for East Africa Local and Regional Development, said the disputes between Kenya and its neighbors in recent months have largely been due to non-compliance with controls and standards on trade.
“Although the rules are very clear, there are some private companies that do abuse these rules. And abuse of those rules usually leads to some of these disputes, “he told Business Daily in an interview.
Kenya has been involved in intermittent trade disputes over the years, mostly with Tanzania and Uganda, both tariff and non-tariff rules, which led to the intervention of the respective ministers and sometimes also the heads of state.
The EAC Common Market Protocol, which came into force in July 2010, requires the member states to open their borders in order to facilitate the free movement of goods and workers , Services and capital.
Kenya banned corn imports from Tanzania and Uganda in early March after the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and the Agriculture and Food Administration (AFA) raised concerns about some of the shipments Exceeded the maximum aflatoxin content of 10 parts per billion.
This dispute – along with other unresolved disputes over animal sc He and animal products, confectionery and juices as well as cement – prompted Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu to make the first official state visit to Nairobi to try to restore the tense trade relations between the two countries.
at the beginning of April Kenya sent a high-level delegation led by Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina to Kampala to smoothen trade barriers that are hindering the smooth flow of goods such as sugar and agricultural products.
However, Uganda’s Agriculture Minister Frank Tumwebaze protested last week in a Twitter post to his Kenyan counterpart Peter Munya against Nairobi’s decision to limit sugar imports to 18,923 tonnes, as opposed to 90,000 tonnes agreed in the April deal.
Mr Mohamed said without saying anything referring directly to Uganda said there have been cases where sugar imported elsewhere has been repackaged ckt and renamed to look like it was made in the EAC market.
Previous reports found that Ugandan traders are notorious for importing sugar from Brazil and using it as a Resell Ugandan products to Kenya.
“Countries want to make sure that you demonstrate that this is a professional channel from East Africa and not a product from other locations that is demonstrated and packaged as an EAC product”, said Mr Mohamed.
“The principle of a customs union is that no company is disadvantaged. You don’t give other people an unfair advantage to actually get access to the EAC without enjoying the same benefits. ”
The endless trade tiffs between the EAC member states have slowed the growth of intra-regional trade, which is currently estimated at around 15 percent of the total, although the bloc is most integrated in Africa.
EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki made the Blame the endless trade disputes within the bloc for failing to enforce the 2017 EAC Removal of Non-Tariff Trade Barriers (NTBs) Act and the establishment of the EAC Trade Defense Equipment Committee to amicably resolve persistent disputes.
“The EAC The Abolition of the NTBs Act 2017 is intended to facilitate the resolution of stubborn NTBs and force the partner states not to impose new ones, “said Dr. Mathuki of the Business Daily in May.
” The Mec Mechanisms for reporting and resolving NTBs, as set out in the NTBs Act 2017, include compensation if the [Council of Ministers] determines that the imposing partner state has caused the partner states concerned unnecessary trade losses, as will be determined by the Trade Defense Equipment Committee. “
The EAC Secretariat, based in Arusha, estimated that the removal of non-tariff trade barriers alone would double in the year, intra-regional trade will double to 30 percent and rise to 50 percent in the coming years.