Kenyan manufacturers have called for caution in the trade negotiations with US to safeguard gains made in regional integration.
Speaking in Nairobi when they launched the Manufacturing Priority Index (MPA 2020), Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) said 2019’s export volumes worth Sh120.43 billion to Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda must be protected by ensuring Kenya consults its EAC partner states before concluding the Kenya-US trade pact.
“Kenya is in a Customs Union with her EAC partners and must adhere to the common external tariffs. A Kenya-US bilateral agreement without involvement of other EAC states is likely to cause jitters thereby complicating efforts to deepen EAC integration efforts,” said KAM.
KAM chairman Sachen Gudka said Kenya’s costs of doing business at national and county level impeded new investments hurting Kenya’s prospects of generating new jobs for its people, forcing companies to operate below capacity and manufacturers forced to increase costs of finished goods to recoup their investments.
“We can only ensure sustainability is we set the tone for a vibrant economy. Let us move fast to correct these anomalies that make Kenya unattractive to investors and our good uncompetitive on the global market,” he said.
KAM chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga vouched for friendly policy measures that nurture local businesses translating into increase jobs, hence better livelihoods.
“Plastics, pharmaceutical drugs, industrial, machinery, paperboard and agro-processed products will drive Kenya made products out of the market. It will then depress Kenya’s exports as local production might fall,” said Ms Wakiaga.