Two East African giants on course to sought out their trade row

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Trade between Kenya and Tanzania has drastically reduced in recent months after the countries imposed conditions on cross-border movement and trade on some products.

Top officials have been holding meetings since June this year after the diplomatic row over exports deepened.

Trade principal secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo says the differences have seen trade volumes between the two countries reduce by at least 35 percent.

It raises concerns since Tanzania has been Kenya’s second largest market after Uganda.

In June this year, the diplomatic row deepened after Tanzania banned export of unprocessed foods to protest Kenya’s decision to prohibit importation of cooking gas and wheat from Tanzania.

The intervention of the two heads of state saw the countries lift export and import restrictions.

However, the two are yet to fully agree on underlying issues. This has seen them hold regular meeting with the last one being held last weekend to iron out the differences.

Trade principal secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo who attended the meeting says the two countries have resolved issues concerning about 30 items.

Cigarettes which still attract 75% duty remain unresolved as well as products made in Export Processing Zones.

The two countries are also yet to iron out issues about work permits and visas with a meeting slated for November expected to handle this as well as other remaining issues.

This comes as Kenya prepares to establish a commodity exchange by June next year, which is expected to ensure price stability, reduce losses to middlemen, cut post-harvest losses and help increase financing to the agriculture sector.