By Murimi Gitari , July 9, 2021
Rules of origin, harmonization dominate trade talks
Manufacturers from Kenya and Tanzania have called for the expedited resolution of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and the review of the East African Community Common External Tariff (EAC CET).
This was during the trade investment forum held on Thrusday, hosted by Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to discuss trade promotion between the two countries.
Kenya’s exports to Tanzania declined from USD 342.9 million in 2016 to USD 294.9 million in 2020 while its exports to the rest of the world grew from USD 5.7 billion in 2016 to 6.02 billion in 2020. On the other hand, Tanzania’s exports to Kenya grew from USD 126.2 million in 2016 to USD 258.2 million in 2020, while her exports to the world grew from USD 4.4 billion in 2016 to USD 5.2 billion in 2020.
Speaking during the forum, the High Commissioner of Kenya to Tanzania, Hon. Dan Kazungu noted that in unity, East Africa shall prosper.
“The visit by Her Excellency the President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu heralded a new dawn, in the relationship between Kenya and Tanzania. Let us take advantage of this enhanced friendship, to resolve outstanding non-trade barriers that hinder trade between the two countries.” said Hon. Kazungu.
Principal Secretary, Ministry of EAC, Dr Kevit Desai, called for Partner States to embrace the Buy East Africa -Build East Africa Initiative.
“Through this initiative, governments will be encouraged, to promote their respective local content. Additionally, it is important that all stakeholders complement each other’s efforts and by working together, the public and private sectors’ relationship will also evolve, and consequently, have a bigger impact on the markets,” explained Dr Kevit.
CTI Chairman, Mr. Paul Makanza, appreciated the cordial, long-lasting relationship enjoyed by the two Business Membership Organizations and highlighted the potential of the East African Community (EAC).
“KAM and CTI’s long-standing relationship has seen the two BMOs work together, towards industrializing our respective countries, and East Africa. We hope to leverage on this collaboration, to grow our economies.”
He added that the EAC has a huge potential to improve the livelihoods of the people and by working together, there will be a stronger impact, than as individual countries.
He called for the two countries to eliminate non-trade barriers (NTBs), and conclude the review of the EAC common external tariff (CET).
KAM Chairman, Mr Mucai Kunyiha, appreciated the role of private sector in regional integration and called for the speedy resolution of impediments to regional trade.
“As at the year 2019, Kenya and Tanzania had GDP values of USD 63.18 billion and USD 95.5 billion respectively. Our bilateral export to GDP ratio is thus estimated at 0.01 for Kenya to Tanzania and 0.003 for Tanzania to Kenya as at the year 2019. The private sectors in the two states must, therefore, play a strategic role in regional integration, which shall in turn, enhance trade,” noted Mr Mucai.
He further added that the EAC Partner States need to create an enabling environment, to drive industrialization in the region by doing away with regulatory overreach which continues to hinder our competitiveness.
KAM holds that Kenya should adopt the 35% rate of EAC CET and resolve outstanding NTBs to drive industrial growth and consequently, increase our productivity.
The Trade and Investment Forum was part of the Tanzania Trade and Investment Mission, being spearheaded by KAM.