Boost for local firms as Kenya secures EAC duty protections

Kenya has secured several duty protections against imports from East Africa in a bid to protect its local manufactures dealing in those commodities.

Rice, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Cylinders, wheat, paper and paper board, a raft of metal products, leather shoes, edible oil and clothes are among the goods Kenya secured for protection against cheap imports from its neighbours.

The stays lasting one year are among the key negotiations Nairobi took to Arusha when ministers of finance met last month to review tariffs under the EAC Common External Tariff (CET)regime.

The regional tariffs allow member countries to export products in the region at a zero or lower custom duty.

Gas cylinders and safety matches, which would ordinarily enter Kenya duty free under the CET will now attract 25 per cent duty while shoes will have a 35 per cent duty in the protections.

EAC members also agreed to extend their duty exemption on select vehicles for the transportation of tourists to included motor cars, sightseeing buses and overland trucks imported by licensed tour operators.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich presented the proposals in Parliament last week as Kenya’s neighbours are fast industrilising and receiving imports from China and India.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga said the move will be a major boost for local manufacturer. “This is a welcome move, which is expected to increase the production capacity for local companies and stimulate demand for the end products. It will promote manufacturers and allow them to import raw materials that are not available in the region at a lower rate,” Ms Wakiaga said.

EAC states we are also said to be working on the framework for the implementation of the EAC Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) Act, 2017 aimed at eliminating non-trade barriers within the bloc.

An online platform has been established to help monitor the NTBs as the countries near the June 30 deadline for the review the Common External Tariffs.

Faced with influx of cheap imports from China and India, the EAC is struggling to keep its intra-regional trade amidst trade tussles between such members as Kenya and Tanzania.

Source: Business Daily

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