Tanzania and Kenya still locked in trade dispute

Monday June 27 2022
Export pic
By Business Daily Africa

Kenya says Tanzania has doubled the cost of export permits by 93 percent, a move likely to open another round of trade dispute between the two countries.

According to the claims, the authorities in Tanzania have increased the cost of acquiring export permits from the previous Sh27, 000 per truck to Sh52, 000, according to border officials.

The move caused a huge snarl-up of trucks moving to Kenya in the last one week as traders and truckers were caught off guard by the new requirement.

“Tanzania has increased the charges that it levies on export permit to Sh52, 000 per truck creating confusion at the border but activities are slowly coming back to normal,” said an officer of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) who will not be named as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

Hundreds of trucks were left stranded at the border the whole of last week as truck owners updated their export permits to meet the new requirements. However, officials from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) told the Business Daily that they resumed the clearing of trucks last week.

“We have now seen some movement of trucks from Tanzania to Kenya. We have carried out some samples of the goods getting into Kenya, meaning that the normal flow of trucks is slowly gaining momentum,” said a Kebs official.

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The new directive is set to hit millers who are banking on Tanzania for imports of maize to meet the current shortage in the country. It is also likely to spark another round of trade war between Kenya and Tanzania slightly over a year after the two countries resolved their differences that had impacted negatively on cross-border trade.

The long-standing trade disputes had slowed down the flow of goods across common borders since 2019.

Tanzania had in 2020 imposed a 25 per cent import duty on Kenyan confectionery, including juice, ice cream, chocolate, sweets and chewing gums, claiming Kenya had used zero-rated industrial sugar imports to produce them.

Kenya banned Tanzanian tour vans from accessing the Maasai Mara National Reserve, arguing that Tanzania had banned Kenyan operators from accessing the Serengeti National Park.

Tanzania escalated the trade spat in February last year when it imposed fresh quality verification standards for Kenyan products.

These differences were, however, resolved when the new Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu visited Nairobi last year for a bilateral meeting with his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta.

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