Kenya and Tanzania have agreed to quash their difference and end their trade dispute which will pave way for increased intra- East Africa Community (EAC) trade. 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 issued a joint statement saying that the two neighbors had agreed to resolve the none-tariff barriers. The communique came after bilateral trade and agriculture delegations to negotiate the self-imposed trade restrictions by the two countries
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 Community directives. Trade between Kenya and Tanzania constitutes over 45 percent of the entire trade within the EAC, data from the Kenya Economic Survey 2017 shows.
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.
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).