Kenya in talks over import tariff standoff
By - CYRUS OMBATI | June 24th 2013
High-level negotiations are going on between Kenya and its East Africa Community partner States - Tanzania and Uganda over the levying of import tariff on Kenyan products.
Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie said Kenya wants partner States to continue exporting in the EAC market without charging them full common external tariffs.
She said Uganda and Tanzania were currently charging Kenyan products the full 25 per centCommon External Tariff (CET) duty rate while Kenya charges them zero per cent.
“Many Kenyan companies are losing market share as a result,” Kandie said.
She observed that Kenya Revenue Authority does not charge full rates for products from either countries, which puts Kenyan products at a disadvantage
The Cabinet Secretary made the remarks while addressing Kenya Manufacturers Association (KAM) Annual General Meeting in Nairobi.
Kandie pledged to work with the association to help Kenyan manufacturers produce more, sell more and employ more Kenyans.
“I think of myself as an entrepreneur who is running the biggest pro-business services organisation in the country. I want to make Kenya an export oriented economy and keep it that way,” she said.
On the EAC, Kandie said partner States should continue exporting in the EAC market without charging them full CET.
She noted that the move is now favouring third countries like China, India and South Africa, as suppliers in the EAC market for the same goods EAC industries are capable of producing.
“We intend to engage with nations that impose external non-tariff barriers and whom we have signed agreements with,” she noted.
Kandie said it is also in the country’s agenda to move forward with high-level negotiations with other EAC states to realise a common market or a single market with limited barriers for goods and services as well movement of persons.
She disclosed that her Ministry would establish commercial offices in strategic international trade markets with the task of strategically positioning Kenya as an investment destination and exports origin.
“We want to explore the establishment of export promotion grants and the rolling out of the Export Development Fund to finance export promotion, product development and other related activities,” she observed.
Kandie added that her Ministry would focus on the expansion of internal markets by lobbying for preference for local industries in public procurement across all sectors of the economy.
“We must also develop and execute clear policies to encourage buying of locally manufactured and produced goods by Government institutions and all Kenyans, adding,” We need to make ‘Made in Kenya’ an unquestionable mark of quality.”
She promised to pursue the development of specialised wholesale and retail markets for agricultural, animal products and manufactured products.
Kandie also called for increased private sector participation in government delegations during economic trips as well as strengthening Kenya missions/consulates abroad to actively promote Kenya as a favourable investment destination.
KAM chairman Polycarp Igathe said manufacturers would co-operate with the Government to market Kenya as the best investment destination.
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