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Stanbic Bank

Museveni, Ruto commit to resolve trade barriers

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President Yoweri Museveni and his Kenyan counterpart William Ruto have directed their respective Ministers of Trade to convene “as soon as possible” and address the unresolved Non-Trade Barriers (NTBs) that continue to stifle Uganda-Kenya trade.

Uganda remained Kenya’s biggest trading partner in terms of exports for the period ending October 2023, according to data published by Kenya Bureau of Statistics in early January, in the eight-member East African Community (EAC).

Exports to Kenya mainly iron and steel products accounted for 31.5 percent while imports to Uganda mainly farm produce and petroleum products 43.5 percent of the total goods sold to the EAC.

However, the two countries have severally sparred over trade, particularly with Kenya blocking a number of Ugandan products including poultry, sugar, beef products, and maize to the chagrin of traders and manufacturers who have called for retaliatory measures or accused the government of not doing enough.

This, as Kenyan traders on the other hand continue to enjoy Uganda’s open trade policies. Technocrats from both sides have met several times to iron out the protectionist practices, but without much success.

According to a communique signed by the permanent secretaries of the ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two governments, the two presidents during President Museveni’s state visit to Kenya on Thursday discussed bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest and “directed the Ministries responsible” to develop implementation modalities of the MoUs inked.

President Museveni also emphasized the need for continued collaboration between the two nations to address common challenges and seize opportunities for growth.

He provided context to the agreements and protocols signed in the joint communique, emphasizing their alignment with the historical missions stating that more than 60 years ago, when Africa gained independence, there was a lack of proper harmonization regarding the historical mission beyond liberation.

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