NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The East African Community (EAC) member states
are considering increasing import duty on finished goods in
order to protect their local industries, a Kenyan official said
Peter Munya, the
Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, told journalists
in Nairobi that the six member states have a Common External
Tariff (CET) that is currently under review.
“We are at the tail
end of the discussions and all member states are in agreement
that we need to raise the import duties so that we shield our
local industries from foreign competition,” Munya said during a
tour of the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute.
Munya said partner
states will have a high level meeting to conclude talks to
develop a new CET in the next two months.
Currently, the CET
calls for zero percent duty on raw materials, ten percent for
intermediate goods and 25 percent for finished goods.
He said member
states are all keen to develop an industrial base so as to
benefit from job creation and save foreign exchange used on
importation of goods that can be produced locally.
Munya said Kenya has
over the years experienced a huge trade deficit as imports have
expanded faster than exports.
He noted that trade
liberalization has seen Kenya face unfair competition from goods
produced abroad and this has resulted in the stagnation of the
The CS added that
Kenya is also developing a policy that will improve the
competitiveness of local manufacturers.
“The policy will
ensure that small and medium enterprise (SMEs) receive the
necessary support to enable them expand their businesses,” he
The Ministry of
Industry hopes that once the policy is in place, it will enable
the country to overcome the challenges affecting SMEs.
Kenya has also
rolled out the Big Four Agenda that prioritizes manufacturing,
affordable housing, universal healthcare and food security.