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Fresh trade war looms in EA over wheat exports

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Geza Ulole, Jun 26, 2011.

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    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

    Jun 26, 2011
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    [h=1]Fresh trade war looms in EA over wheat exports[/h]
    Tanzanian traders are petitioning the government to stop paying dues to the East Africa Community over Kenya’s refusal to allow wheat imports from their country — a move that could spark a fresh trade war between the two East African countries,
    The decision is the culmination of nine months of intense lobbying by Tanzanian wheat traders who claim they are victims of unfair competition since Kenyan goods have flooded their markets.
    Mohamed Bashrahil, the sales and marketing manager of Azania Wheat Flour, told The EastAfrican in Dar es Salaam last week that the country was “wasting” its money contributing to the running of the EAC Secretariat, as there were no benefits accruing to Tanzania.
    According to Mr Bashrahil, Kenyans were killing the spirit of free trade in the regional bloc by not allowing flour from Tanzania into their country.
    “A 30 tonne truck carrying flour into Kenya, for example, attracts almost Tsh19 million ($12,000) in taxes. This is aimed at ensuring they protect their local producers. And as if this were not enough authorities have also refused to honour certificates of origin from Tanzania for no good reason,” he said.
    The largest milling company and a major producer of maize and wheat flour in East Africa, Said Salim Bakhresa and Company Ltd (SSB) has also encountered similar problems and has opted to stop exports to Kenya.
    Assistant general manager of SSB Hussein Sufian told The EastAfrican in Dar es Salaam last week that his firm and Azania Wheat Flour Ltd invited officials from Kenya and Rwanda — which also bars Tanzania wheat exports — to ascertain the quality of their flour but they “still stuck to their guns.”
    “The rules of origin within the Common Market are still not very clear and that is why the Tanzania government has taken up the issue with the EAC Secretariat,” said Mr Sufian.
    At the last EAC meeting in Arusha, Tanzania’s Ministries of Trade and Industry as well as East African Co-operation made their case but no consensus was reached.
    The Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) recently called on EAC member states to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade in the bloc.
    TCCIA president Aloyce Mwamanga said Tanzanian maize and wheat flour exporters were finding it difficult to access Kenyan and Rwandan markets due to non-tariff barriers.
    “In doing business among EAC member states, we face a number of challenges but non-tariff barriers are the most irritating,” said Mr Mwamanga.
    According to Mr Mwamanga, Tanzania has the most maize and wheat millers in the region.
    “But it is frustrating to see that flour from the country is denied entry into Kenya and Rwanda for reasons only known to Customs officials from the two countries,” he said.
    Mr Mwamanga was referring to a recent event in which three trucks carrying 90 tonnes of wheat flour, belonging to the Azania Wheat Flour Mill were allegedly denied entry into Kenya at the Horohoro border post.

    The East African:  - News |Fresh trade war looms in EA over wheat exports