Manufacturers from Kenya and Tanzania have called for the resolution of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and the review of the East African Community Common External Tariff (EAC CET). This recommendation was made during the trade investment forum held by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) to discuss trade promotion between the two states.

In 2016, Kenya’s exports to Tanzania declined from Ksh. 37 billion ($342.9 million) to Ksh. 32 billion ($294.9 million) in 2020. In 2020, Kenya’s exports to the rest of the world grew from Ksh. 615 billion ($5.7 billion) in 2016 to Ksh. 650 billion ($6.02 billion) in 2020. On the other hand, Tanzania’s exports to Kenya grew from Ksh. 13 billion ($126.2 million) in 2016 to Ksh. 28 billion ($258.2) million in 2020, while her exports to the world grew from Ksh. 475 billion ($4.4 billion) in 2016 to Ksh. 561 billion ($5.2 billion) in 2020.

Speaking during the forum, the High Commissioner of Kenya to Tanzania, Hon. Dan Kazungu said, “The visit by Her Excellency the President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu heralded a new dawn, in the relationship between Kenya and Tanzania. Let us take advantage of this enhanced friendship, to resolve outstanding non-trade barriers that hinder trade between the two countries. A win for our community, means prosperity for us all.”

Principal Secretary, Ministry of EAC, Dr. Kevit Desai called for Partner States to embrace the Buy East Africa Build East Africa Initiative. “Through this initiative, governments will be more encouraged, to promote their respective local content. Additionally, it is important that all stakeholders complement each other’s efforts. By working together, the public and private sectors’ relationship will also evolve, and consequently, have a bigger impact on the markets,” Dr. Kevit added.

Mr. Mucai Kunyiha, KAM Chairman, appreciated the role of private sector in regional integration and called for the speedy resolution of impediments to regional trade. “As at the year 2019, Kenya and Tanzania had GDP values of USD 63.18 billion and USD 95.5 billion respectively. Our bilateral export to GDP ratio is thus estimated at 0.01 for Kenya to Tanzania and 0.003 for Tanzania to Kenya as at the year 2019. The private sectors in the two states must, therefore, play a strategic role in regional integration, which shall in turn, enhance trade,” added Mr. Mucai.

He further added that the EAC Partner States need to create an enabling environment, to drive industrialization in the region by doing away with regulatory overreach which continues to hinder our competitiveness.

KAM holds that Kenya should adopt the 35% rate of EAC CET and resolve outstanding NTBs to drive industrial growth and consequently, increase our productivity. The Trade and Investment Forum was part of the Tanzania Trade and Investment Mission, being spearheaded by KAM.