Kenya and Uganda sign pact to ease trade war

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Trade Cabinet secretary Betty Maina. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya and Uganda have agreed to abolish the trade barriers that have led to a sour relationship between the two neighbouring countries which saw various goods subjected to taxes against the East African Community (EAC) Customs Union Protocol.

A delegation from Kenya led by Trade Secretary Betty Maina has been in Uganda to deliberate on the matter after Kampala raised concerns over Nairobi’s imposition of taxes on goods coming in from Uganda and banning milk and poultry products.

Ms Maina met with her Ugandan counterpart Amelia Kyambadde as well as President Yoweri Museveni and it was agreed that both countries do away with the punitive taxes.

For instance, Kenya will scrap the 35 per cent duty that is imposed on gas cylinders that are manufactured in Uganda.

On the other hand, Uganda has agreed to scrap the 13 per cent duty that it has imposed on Kenya’s juices, malted beer and spirits, which it noted that it goes against the spirit of the EAC Customs Union Protocol.

Uganda’s State Minister for East African Affairs Julius Maganda said in February that his country was not ruling out taking Kenya to the regional court over continued trade blockade of many of its farm products.

Kenya has in the last one year had trade-related tensions with its landlocked neighbour, especially on milk products, which saw Nairobi confiscate hundreds of tonnes of Lato milk from Uganda in 2020.