Kenya and Tanzania have taken strides to eliminate barriers that have hindered trade in crucial commodities such as tea, spirits, and timber. The breakthrough came during discussions held in Kisumu, where Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano hosted her Tanzanian counterpart Ashatu Kijaji, aiming to address longstanding trade obstacles between the two nations.

The removal of these barriers is anticipated to facilitate smoother trade flows and bolster economic growth while strengthening bilateral ties between Kenya and Tanzania. The agreement signifies a mutual commitment to fostering economic cooperation and enhancing regional integration.

During the discussions, Trade Cabinet Secretary Miano emphasized the importance of the agreement, highlighting that it would culminate in the signing of a communique outlining the agreed-upon measures. Additionally, both countries expressed their intent to explore untapped market opportunities to further expand bilateral trade relations.

Despite bilateral trade between Kenya and Tanzania amounting to Sh90 billion, various non-tariff barriers have hindered its potential growth. These barriers include restrictive regulations, licensing requirements, quotas, embargoes, foreign exchange restrictions, and import deposits, which have constrained trade activities between the two nations.

Trade relations between Kenya and Tanzania have witnessed positive momentum following the visit of Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan to Nairobi in May 2021. During this visit, significant progress was made in negotiating the removal of 23 trade barriers, paving the way for improved economic cooperation and increased trade volumes between the two countries.

Kenya’s robust investments in Tanzania have played a pivotal role in driving economic growth within the region. As the largest investor in Tanzania among the East African Community (EAC) nations, Kenya continues to contribute significantly to the economic development of both countries.

Recent statistics from the Central Bank of Kenya and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) highlight the upward trajectory of trade between Kenya and Tanzania. Exports from Kenya to Tanzania surged by 46% to Sh28.66 billion last year, while Tanzania’s exports to Kenya nearly doubled, reaching Sh54.47 billion, signifying a strengthening of trade relations amidst ongoing efforts to eliminate non-tariff barriers.

The elimination of trade barriers marks a pivotal step towards realizing the full potential of trade cooperation between Kenya and Tanzania, fostering economic prosperity and deeper integration within the East African region.

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