The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) is lobbying for the lifting of a tax slapped on tea exports to Turkey.
Chairman Kiprono Kittony said the 145 per cent tariff has resulted in smuggling of black tea to Turkey leading to loss of revenues for the Turkish government and restricted market opportunities for Kenyan tea farmers.
“Both countries need to address the tariff issue, Kenya charges a tariff of 25 percent on Turkish imports to Kenya whereas Turkey has a tariff of 145 percent on Kenyan Tea.
“There are also other barriers to tea imports such as port restrictions. The government is losing revenue as a result of this smuggling,” said Mr Kittony. He said Turkey has a well-established tea drinking culture and currently has the highest per capita consumption at 2.5kg annually that Kenya could take advantage of.
“There is a need of forming a bilateral trade agreement between Kenya and Turkey that will introduce a concession on imports to Turkey so as to enhance the great relationship between our two nations,” said Mr Kittony at a recent meeting with Turkish delegation.
In 2017 Turkey imported tea worth Sh637 million.
Kenya’s total exports to Turkey amounted to $23.14 million (about Sh2.3 billion) in 2017 while its imports from Turkey amounted to $156.05 million (about Sh15.6 billion).
Kenya’s exports are mainly agricultural produce and include tea, tobacco, crude vegetables, leather, coffee, spices, cocoa, textile fibres, fish, raw materials for dye and paints.
Import products from Turkey are mainly electrical products and fertilisers. Fertiliser accounts for 20 per cent of the value of imports from Turkey.