Kenya, Tanzania agree to further ease trade restrictions
Published on: May 31, 2021 02:28 (EAT)
Kenya and Tanzania have agreed to further ease in trade restrictions at the end of a fresh bilateral meeting concluded Saturday. The pair held a fifth bilateral meeting in Arusha on the backdrop of Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu visit to Kenya earlier this month in which the countries agreed to ease trade ties. During the meeting, a total of 64 issues were handled out of which 30 issues were resolved and a path set to resolve the outstanding 34 matters. On its part, Kenya agreed to facilitate the clearance of soft drinks such as juices, removal of inspection fees for processed products with standardization marks, facilitate maize entry from Tanzania and waive excise duty for glass products. On the flip-side, Tanzania has agreed to grant preferential treatment to cement products from Kenya, implement the single window system which has reduced delays in clearance of pineapple juices produced in Kenya and streamline some of the standards of its regulatory bodies. Additionally, the meeting directed the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to explore granting preferential access to cigarettes made in Kenya but whose tobacco has been sourced from Tanzania. Moreover, the pair of countries have agreed to establish a permanent implementation committee to monitor implementation of decisions agreed upon in the bilateral meetings. Kenya and Tanzania have further highlighted bilateral engagements, biannually at Ministerial level and quarterly at senior officials and technical level. Further, the pair say they will champion the process of harmonizing domestic taxes, levies and fees in the East African Community (EAC) region. Kenya’s and Tanzania’s respective trade ministers Betty Maina and Kitila Mkumbo led the delegations at the bilateral meeting. Both countries agreed to hold a follow up meeting to check on the progress of easing trade ties inside the next three months.