State told to notify World Trade Organisation of tea rules

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 00:00 |
East African Tea Trade Association managing director Edward Mudibo.

Ministry of Agriculture has been asked to notify World Trade Organisation (WTO) of  new tea regulations to shield the country from being blacklisted in the global market.

Traders, brokers and buyers said before  gazettement of  the revised regulations, the final draft should be notified to the WTO as required in Article 7 of the organisation’s agreement on Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.

Notifying WTO, they said in a statement, will allow receiving and consideration of comments from the global community that consume Kenyan tea.  

East African Tea Trade Association managing director Edward Mudibo said it is a requirement under the global trade rules to notify WTO on any trade matter touching other countries and  change of any trade regime.

International trade

“Department of international trade ought to write to WTO notifying them about the new regulations failure to which Kenya might branded a non-compliant partner in the international trade,” he added. 

The tea players called for further revision of the regulations in order to include suggestions and advise on implementation of the public policy.

Mudibo said after revision, the regulations should be subjected to a regulatory impact assessment to test their socio-economic value.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya launched the final draft of the regulations last month and forwarded the same to the Attorney General for legal scrubbing –removing potentially actionable language – before publication.  

The regulations have further been presented to Parliament for discussion and approval.

Financial impact

The regulations are likely to have financial impact to various value chains – traders, brokers, buyers and management agents.

Mudibo said the CS is making an attempt to implement the Crops Act through the regulations.

“However, only aspects of registration and licensure of players is being legislated, in fact over-regulated, in the regulations, relegating other more important aspects such as growth, development and competitiveness whose foundation is already laid out in the Crops Act,” he added.  

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