Dan Kazungu, the envoy, said yesterday that the remaining 30 non-tariff barriers after earlier talks in May will be solved before the end of August, urging traders to prepare to do business with ease as there would no longer be obstacles.
“Kenya and Tanzania are brothers and sisters; we don’t want to see any barriers,” he asserted.
He recalled that Kenyan and Tanzanian ministers met and managed to cut 34 non-tariff barriers in cross border trade, a meeting arising from the two-day state visit made by President Samia Suluhu Hassan two months ago.
He was addressing a delegation from the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and their counterparts, the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI).
He said President Samia’s state visit was of great importance and it is the reason behind the decision by KAM Kenya to come in Tanzania to meet their counterparts to exchange ideas on the best way they can collaborate to nourish trade and investments.
“The first state visit by President Samia was a privilege and an honor to us Kenyans because there are many countries she could have chosen to visit but she opted to come to us. And soon after her visit you can see the fruits; ministers between two states meet regularly and discuss trade issues,” the envoy explained
He said ministers from Kenya and Tanzania met in Arusha recently where they discussed and managed to reduce 34 non-tariff barriers out of 64 that were tabled.
EAC countries have a large potential market because of the population so it is important for each country to remove all barriers to attract business with other partner states, he said.
He told the business community that there is bright future for them because the two leaders, Samia and Uhuru Kenyata have opened the door for them to nourish their businesses.
CTI Chairman Paul Makanza urged delegates from Kenya and Tanzania to uphold rule based trade relationships as the way to reduce imposition of non-tariff barriers in cross border trade.
He promised continued collaboration with their Kenyan counterparts, urging for similar engagements with other business communities within the region.
“The EAC is potentially an economic powerhouse with immense opportunities to significantly uplift the livelihoods of approximately 180m people in the EAC region and it is up to us manufacturers and the private sector in general to unleash this potential through collaboration with our respective governments,” he elaborated.
The Chairman of Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Mucai Kunyiha said among trade issues that they are going to address is upper band rate of the EAC common external tariff. Others are harmonization of domestic taxes, production standards, review of the EAC rules of origin and activation of the dispute settlement mechanism, he stated.
“We recognize that trade devoid of both tariff and non-tariff barriers increases prosperity for all participating nations by allowing consumers to buy more and better quality products at low costs. Additionally it drives economic growth, enhances efficiency and increases innovations,” said Kunyiha
The trade mission from Kenya to Tanzania comprising 25 people followed upon commitments by presidents Uhuru and Samia, and in the recently concluded bilateral negotiations on trade between the two states, he added.