EAC states raise concern as intra-trade plummets
SEE ALSO :MCAs: No more drama, we have moved onTotal EAC imports fell by 24.6 per cent to $29.7 billion (Sh3 trillion) in 2016 from $39.4 billion (Sh4 trillion) in 2015. The fall in imports was mainly attributed to the fall in crude oil prices that could have reduced the import bill for petroleum products. As a result, the EAC Secretariat has been directed to among other measures undertake an in-depth analysis to identify the specific factors affecting trade flows in the EAC and determine the impact of the identified factors on the EAC terms of trade, investment and the competitiveness. “The secretariat will propose appropriate recommendations to revamp the EAC intra-trade and investment flows; assess the impact of non-tariff barriers (NTB) on EAC trade flows in quantitative terms and compile the Partner States’ comments to the EAC Elimination of NTB Act 2017 and expedite the amendment process of the Act,” noted the council. DOMESTIC TAXES Others are meant to convene a meeting of ministers and permanent secretaries to discuss the findings, challenges and provide strategic interventions to bolster the EAC intra-trade, investment and the competitiveness.
SEE ALSO :EACC arrests Five Nyeri County officersIt will identify areas distorting trade in EAC emanating from national policy actions including local content requirements and domestic taxes. This should take cognizance of the interest of the Partner States’ national measures. Among the highlights of the Investment Report, EAC trade deficit declined by 36.8 per cent to $14.8 billion in 2016 from $23.4 billion in 2015. This is partly due to a fall in the imports into the region. The decline was also registered in Intra-regional exports. Total Intra- EAC exports which accounted for 16.5 per cent of total EAC Exports declined by 17.4 per cent to $2.6 billion (Sh260 billion in 2016 from $3.2 billion (Sh320 billion) in 2015. Kenya which dominates Intra-regional trade accounted for over 45.6 percent of total intra-regional exports. The main exports from EAC in 2016 included tea, coffee, cocoa and horticultural products. Mineral ores, especially gold and diamond, constituted a sizeable percentage of the exports as well. East Africa is heavily dependent on imports, especially from China, India, Japan and the Far East and Europe.
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