By Michael Okidi
Stakeholders in the public and private economic sectors are drafting a Kenya Country position paper to guide the final adoption of an East African Community (EAC) Common External Tariff structure that should help spur intra-regional trade and boost domestic production.
According to the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of EAC and Northern Corridor Development, Dr Susan Koech, a review of the EAC Common External Tariff was being undertaken to create a structure that would spur intra-EAC trade and boost domestic industries.
Addressing a press conference at a Nairobi Hotel during an EAC Common External Tariff stakeholders review meeting, Dr Koech said the team would come up with a Kenyan country position to be presented at the regional level for a final harmonization with other Partner States’ viewpoints.
She said the review, only the second one since the year 2010, had been ordered by the 34th EAC Council of Ministers to help create a clear way forward in the promotion of trade among the EAC partner States.
Dr Koech, together with her Industrialization and International Trade counterparts Betty Maina and Dr Chris Kiptoo respectively, noted that trade among East African partner States was going down even as trade between them and other countries and regions went up.
The declining regional trade, they noted, was not healthy for a region like the EAC that has its sights set on attainment of a single currency in less than ten years.
The anticipated new Common External tariff structure, they explained, is expected to benefit the EAC region as a whole, and was not aimed at giving any advantage to a particular country.