Trade performance between Uganda and Tanzania can be enhanced further if non-tariff barriers (NTBs) between our two countries are eliminated
TRADE-Tanzania has cleared free market access of Uganda’s dry produce following a bi-lateral meeting between Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde and her counterpart Joseph Kakunda, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment of Tanzania.
New Vision has learnt that the meeting was held at Mutukula One Stop Border Post (OSBP), Uganda side recently.
The two ministers flanked by officials from Uganda and Tanzania discussed elimination of existing non-tariff barriers (NTBs) between the two countries.
They also discussed about enhancement of cross border trade between the two nations.
“The meeting was a follow up on exchange of numerous bilateral engagements between the two countries notably; the Presidential visits, ministerial bilateral engagements, the Joint Permanent Commission and the Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI),” according to a release from Trade Ministry.
Clearance of agricultural produce
In November 2018, Ugandan traders at Mutukula border demonstrated over a restriction imposed by Tanzania on Uganda’s dry produce intended for export to Tanzania.
They protested the ban exports like maize and beans by the Tanzania government.
However, after the meeting, Tanzanian Government agreed to grant import permits to the importers immediately to enable them buy produce from Ugandan traders. This is according to ministry of trade documents obtained by New Vision.
There were allegations that Uganda imports sugar and its repackaged and re-exported within the region.
As a result, Uganda Sugar to Tanzania was denied preferential treatment. However, a joint verification between Uganda and Tanzania conducted from November 26 to December 1 noted among others that Ugandan sugars’ Millers do not import sugar.
“It was also noted that most of the sugar imported into Uganda is sugar for industrial use while some of the imported sugar is re-exported. It was recommended that the Sugar wholly produced in Uganda, should be accorded EAC preferential treatment. United Republic of Tanzania agreed to grant Uganda’s sugar priority and preferential market access,” read the press release.
On edible oil, there was a joint verification undertaken by Uganda and URT in Uganda to verify whether sunflower, soya and palm edible oils are originating and meet the EAC Rules of Origin criteria.
It was found that sunflower and soya edible oils meet the criteria and Tanzania promised to grant preferential market access before the end of 2018. However, it was found that palm oil does not meet the EAC Rules of Origin criteria.
Minister Kyambadde said the meeting was timely since it was intended to address non-tariff barriers between the two countries.
She said trade performance between Uganda and Tanzania can be enhanced further if non-tariff barriers (NTBs) between our two countries are eliminated.
“I am glad to note that the avenue of bilateral engagements among us notably the Joint Permanent Commission and these bilateral meetings are being undertaken and have met the political will up to the level of our Heads of State,” noted Kyambadde.
She appreciated the candid and openness exhibited in the meeting with the spirit of moving forward the bilateral cooperation and expressed optimism that the trade between the two countries will be smooth from 2019 onwards.
Joseph Kakunda underscored the strong cultural ties between the two countries and affirmed that Tanzania is dedicated to this process of bilateral engagements. He applauded government of Uganda for its leadership in steering the EAC.
The two ministers signing agreement committing to address the NTBs between the two countries.
They asked the border agencies of the two countries to meet regularly and address issues that affect trade before they are escalated to require Ministers and the Heads of States to intervene.
The acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade (Uganda) Eng. Samuel Ssenkungu noted that there has been an upward trend in the development of trade between the two countries since 2010 and thanked Tanzania for the continued engagements that have led to enhancement of trade between the two countries.
Uganda is running a negative trade balance with Tanzania. Uganda’s exports to Tanzania registered a positive trend from $56m in 2014 to $68.8min 2016 before declining to $49.8m in 2017.
Similarly Uganda’s imports from Tanzania have increased from $75.7m to $91.7m in the same period.