Kenya points fingers at crook traders hindering EAC growth

East African Community Traded flags [Image: courtesy]
Kenya—Trade squabbles among members of the East African Community (EAC) on incidents of traders breaking cross-border rules have been condemned by the Kenyan leadership.

The cabinet secretary for EAC and Regional Development, Mr. Aden Mohammed said disputes in recent months between Kenya and its neighbors have largely resulted from non-conformity with controls and standards governing trade.

“Whilst the rules are very clear, there are some private business entities that abuse those rules. And the abuse of those rules is what normally leads to some of this dispute,” Aden said in an interview.

The EAC Common market which has largely involved Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania came into force in July 2010, it requires member states to open up their borders to facilitate free movement of goods, labor, services as well as capital.

The unending trade tiffs among EAC member states have slowed growth in intra-regional trade despite the bloc being the most integrated into Africa.

Kenya early March banned maize imports from Tanzania and Uganda after the Kenya bureau of standard and the Agriculture, food authority raised concerns that some consignments had surpassed the maximum aflatoxin levels of 10 parts per billion.

Earlier in April, Kenya had sent a high-powered delegation to Kampala, led by Trade cabinet secretary Betty Mania, to flatten trade barriers hindering the smooth flow of goods such as sugar and farm produce.

Aden also noted that Past reports have shown that Ugandan traders have been notorious for importing sugar from Brazil and reselling them to Kenya as Ugandan products.

“Countries want to make sure that you demonstrate, this is a product from East Africa and not a product from other places that are being paraded and packaged as an EAC product,” Mr. Mohamed said.