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Ministry says to push Dar for joint EU export deal during visit

Trade secretary Adan Mohamed. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Trade secretary Adan Mohamed. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya will use this month’s meeting with Tanzania to push Dar es Salaam to sign the European market access agreement as the country fights to save its multi-billion shilling traded.

If locked out, Kenya stands to lose out on its current preferential access to European markets, subjecting its exporters to higher tariffs and cumulative tax demands in excess of Sh100 million a week as was the case in 2014.

Trade secretary Adan Mohamed said conclusion of the long-pending deal will be addressed during the meeting to be held before the end of the month to persuade Dar to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Kenya and Rwanda signed the deal in 2016, but it needs approval from all members of the East African Community bloc—which also includes Burundi and Uganda—to take effect.

Nairobi is at the moment accessing the European Union under a special arrangement after three other members failed to endorse EPAs last year.

“In the meeting with Tanzania this month we shall discuss the issue of EPAs as part of our trade negotiations with the country,” said Mr Mohamed.

He said Kenya is missing out on opportunities outlined in the EPA agreement.

A delegation from Tanzania will also be visiting the country to discuss the trade wars between the two states. This meeting will come after the one held in Arusha in September.

Mr Mohamed has been leading the regional bloc in the push for an EPA within the member states in the last two years.

In March, Kenya accused Tanzania and Uganda of being insincere in refusal to join the rest of EAC members in signing the EPA.