Kenya, Tanzania industrialists hold talks on trade barriers
Lewis Njoka @LewisNjoka
Manufacturers from Kenya and Tanzania are holding a three-day conference to mend the frosty trade relations between the two countries which has hurt both.
The event organised by Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) will deliberate ontrade promotion and market access between the two neighbours.
Speaking in Nairobi during the event, KAM chairman, Mucai Kunyiha said solving pertinent issues affecting the two nations will not only enhance trade but also drive competitiveness of products and services.
“Kenya and Tanzania have the capability and capacity to add value to the array of resources that both countries have for export markets.
However, achieving this is hindered every time the business community encounters impediments to trade, consequently, impacting on the benefits of trade to the entire region,” he said.
He noted that the recent visit by Tanzanian President, Samia Suluhu, was a gesture of collaboration and would reinvigorate relations between Kenya and Tanzania.
Speaking at the same event, CTI Chairman, Paul Makanza, urged delegates from both countries to uphold a rule-based trade relationship to reduce the imposition on non-tariff Barriers on cross-border trade.
Gerrishon Ikiara, a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi lauded the move, saying the persistent frosty relations were hurting both countries. “The countries depend on one another for a fairly substantial amount of trade.
They should do everything possible to iron out the differences so that they can largely be guided by the East African Community trade protocols,” Ikiara said.
“My recommendation is that they need to reduce suspicions and follow the East African protocol as much as possible,” he added.
The relations between Kenya and Tanzania hit its lowest level during the administration of the late Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli, with the two countries engaging in a number of trade squabbles.
In March, for instance, Kenya stopped importation of maize from Tanzania and Uganda. citing health concerns.