Kenya and Tanzania have agreed to conduct joint verification exercise on all imports and exports to help solve trade issues between the two neighboring countries.
The exercise, once established, will see goods such as lubricants, edible oils, cement and textiles produced outside Export Processing Zone trade un-prohibited between the two countries, according to a joint communique between Kenya's Principal Secretary for Trade Chris Kiptoo and his Tanzanian counterpart Adolf Mugenda issued in Nairobi on Sunday.
In the communique issued following three days of intensive talks, the duo underscored the significance of having regular bilateral meetings to discuss concerns and opportunities with a view of promoting trade for the mutual benefit of the two countries and its people.
"The two sides deliberated on inter-alia concerns related to the retail sector, customs, freight forwarding, administrative bottlenecks and implementation of the East African Community (EAC) directives including the Single Customs Territory system to hasten clearance of goods across the borders," reads the communique.
Lack of preferential treatment for certain goods produced in the region citing rules of origin and application of non-tariff barriers have seen trade between East Africa's two leading economies plummet in the last two years.
The two government officials discussed the need to ratify and implement the EAC Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Protocol, which requires partner States to establish regulatory institutions and harmonize control measures besides speedily development and adoption of cargo tracking system.
The principal secretaries called upon immigration chiefs to convene regular bilateral meeting to resolve some immigration issues which technical committees felt did note encourage trade and investment between the two countries.
Kiptoo said Tanzania was Kenya's second largest export market in the EAC block and the sixth in the world.
"Kenya's investment in Tanzania by 350 companies is worth over 1.5 billion U.S. dollars and offer employment to about 50,000 people in that country," Kiptoo said.
The meeting noted that the directive issued jointly by Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Tanzania's John Magufuli of Tanzania regarding the free flow of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, wheat flour, milk and milk products had been fully implemented.
Both Tanzania and Kenya had formed a multi-agency committee to be made up of government officials from either side to resolve trade disputes. Xinhua