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Report: Why cross-border traders breach regulations

Friday March 12 2021
Border pic
By Gadiosa Lamtey

Dar es Salaam. Majority of traders engaged in exports are facing difficulties in complying with trade regulations and procedures locally and abroad, a new survey has shown.

The survey by the International Trade Centre (ITC) on Non-Tariff Measures (NMT) which burden trade revealed that 72 percent of the exporters in Tanzania were facing such difficulties.

The figure is based on a large-scale NTM business survey conducted in 2019 and 2020 in collaboration with the ministry of Industry and Trade.

Revealing the findings during the National Stakeholders Meeting on NTM yesterday, an analyst on trade and market intelligence from ITC, Mr Samidh Shrestha, said 76 percent of agricultural exporters and 57 percent of manufactured goods exporters experience difficulties with NTMs.

The most affected exporters of agricultural products are those exporting avocado, coffee, tea, spices and horticulture.

In general, he said, exporters of agricultural commodities must comply with more and stricter product-specific regulations related to health and safety which exporters may find difficult to meet.

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“Regulatory reforms implemented by the Tanzanian government have contributed to overcoming hurdles,” he said.

He said the report shows almost half of the burdensome NTM cases reported by exporters are due to Tanzanian regulations applied to their own exports. Export-related regulations affect both agricultural and manufacturing sectors similarly.

Among the key requirements that exporters face hurdles include obtaining the necessary export permits, licences and certifications required by national authorities.

In addition to that the main complaints refer to duplications in the documents, many administrative windows for issuing each one of the requirements, and delays related to these regulations.

Report also finds that agricultural exporters report issues complying with technical requirements and their related conformity assessments.

Tanzanian exporters report hurdles issuing product certifications, complying with testing requirements and ensuring the product characteristics required by their counterparts.

The lack of proper quality infrastructure as well as the lack of recognition of testing or certificates issued in Tanzania were among the key causes of exporters’ difficulties.

However, the ministry of Industry and Trade says it had conducted a number of reforms during the period between 2015 and 2020 in a deliberate move to rectify the situation.

The reforms include implementation of the Blueprint for Improving Tanzania’s Business Climate and the removal of 173 fees and charges in different sectors, according to Mr Freddy Kavula who is a trade officer of the ministry.

He told the gathering that the government has also harmonised the roles of Tanzania Bureau of Standards and Tanzania Medicines & Medical Devices Authority as a way of reducing hurdles that traders had to go through. The government through Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) has launched the Tanzania Customs Integrated System (Tancis).

The system is built on hi-tech principles with a view to increasing effectiveness, efficiency, transparency, and reliability in the customs administration.

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