Kenya and Uganda need to discuss the trade crisis—EABC
East African business groups have urged for an urgent halt to the worsening trade standoff between Kenya and Uganda.
Instead of ongoing squabbles, they urge the two neighboring nations to meet down and work out any remaining concerns peacefully.
Retaliation is not and should not be the final answer, stated the East African Business Council (EABC), an umbrella organization of business sector organizations located in Arusha. It urged that dialog be an option since it was consistent with the spirit of the Treaty Establishing the East African Community (EAC).
The regional business body’s message made no mention of the continuing situation involving hundreds of trucks stalling at the Kenya-Uganda border. Drivers from Kenya, in particular, have claimed that they were unable to enter Uganda due to COVID-19 immunization fees and time-consuming clearance processes.
However, the statement noted ongoing non-tariff barriers (NTBs) as one of the reasons affecting cross-border commerce between the two nations. “Bilateral talks to abolish all outstanding NTBs between Kenya and Uganda would enhance commerce,” The Citizen said. Rather than raising tensions, the two nations should undertake a bilateral negotiation “to avert a trade deadlock and retribution.”
A prolonged deadlock, according to EABC, would have a significant effect on intra-EAC commerce, which is now at around 15%.
Because of the restriction of privileged market access to EAC-originating items, trade numbers inside the six-nation bloc were decreasing.
New trade retaliatory measures will further limit trade, affecting jobs, market access, and economies of scale, particularly in the region’s industrial sector.
Persistent NTBs have not only increased the transaction time and expense of conducting business across borders but have also hampered the competitiveness of EAC-originating items.
The EABC, which has observer status in the EAC, has found two essential variables in addressing chronic and mushrooming NTBs.
One of them is the lack of an efficient EAC traded dispute resolution system through the previously planned EAC Trade Remedies Committee.
The third issue is the poor speed with which the EAC Regional Monitoring Committee is resolving the identified trade impediments (RMC).
“This is obvious from the latest Sectoral Council of Trade, Industry, Finance, and Investment (SCTIF) meeting,” the business organization said.