NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya and its southern neighbor
Tanzania have agreed to end their trade dispute, paving the way
for increase in intra-East Africa Community (EAC) trade.
The two largest economies with the EAC Common Market have had a
bumpy trade relation in the last few years, culminating in a
significant drop of Kenya’s exports to Tanzania by 60 percent in
the first six months of 2017, according to data published by
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
"We have agreed to resolve the none-tariff barriers," Chris
Kiptoo, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade for
Kenya and Elisante Ole Gabriel, the Permanent Secretary in the
Ministry of Trade for Tanzania said in a joint communique
released in Nairobi on Friday.
The two officials led trade and agriculture delegations to
negotiations on self-imposed trade restrictions by the two
counties. The meeting was held in Kenya’s coastal city of
"The two Partner States recognized each other as a
significant trading partners and underscored the importance of
ease of market access for each other’s products and services,"
noted the joint communique.
Trade between Kenya and Tanzania constitutes over 45 percent
of the entire trade within the EAC, data from the Kenya Economic
Survey 2017 shows.
Their combined gross domestic product account for 76 percent
of the region’s economy, an indication that they are the
economic backbone of the common market.
Key issues discussed during the meeting ranged from how to
resolve multiple charges on levies, lack of preferential
treatment, delays at border points, need for standardized
inspection fees, non-payment of suppliers by Uchumi and Nakumatt
supermarkets which are facing financial trouble, slow customs
procedures and slow implementation of the relevant East African
"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,"
noted the communique.
Private sector representatives from the two countries made
presentations highlighting trade and investment opportunities in
aviation, mining, petroleum and transportation among others,
which the two countries agreed to pursue as soon as the current
trade barriers are resolved.
Other key issues agreed by the two countries include that the
EAC Secretariat should come up with a regional policy to address
challenges facing the retail sector to have a joint code of
practice and regulations; that the chiefs of immigration
services from the two countries to convene a meeting to resolve
immigration issues and that Tanzania should undertake
verification exercises on lubricants, edible oils, and cement in
Kenya by March 31.
Tanzania agreed to expedite ratification process and
implement EAC Sanitary and Phytosanitary Protocol, which
requires EAC partner states to establish regulatory institutions
while Kenya was required to establish Food and Drugs Authority.
The meeting also called for the EAC Secretariat to speed up
the development of EAC Regional Cargo Tracking System and its
adoption by all EAC partner States.