Government officials have revealed plans to engage the Kenyan counterparts to push for the formation of a ministerial committee that will deal with all the non-tariff barriers that are affecting trade between Uganda and Kenya.
The plans were revealed during a media launch of the Kenya-Uganda Agri-business symposium that will be held in Mombasa on the 8th and 9th September, 2021.
Trade between the two countries has increased on the back of the East African Common Market Protocol which was signed in 2010 which allows the free movement of goods, people, labour, services and capital from one partner state to another but this is different from the realities on ground.
Currently, Agri-products exports from Kenya and Uganda are faced with challenges related to non-tariff barriers where some of Uganda’s products including Milk, Sugar among others have been barred crossing to Kenya.
The challenges are both domestic and foreign in nature including certification, labelling, packaging, quality standards management, rules of origin among others.
While addressing the media, Uganda’s High Commissioner to Kenya, Dr. Hassan Wasswa Galiwango and the Consulate General of Uganda to Mombasa, Amb. Paul Mukumbya revealed that its upon that background that the agri-business symposium is organized to find lasting solutions to the challenges.
Amb. Galiwango said that the two days symposium will be used to build linkages with the Kenyan counterparts with the view of increasing export volumes to and ironing out the challenges.
Galiwango said that the symposium will be attended by the Private sector, Ministries, Departments and agencies both in Uganda and Kenya including Ministers of foreign affairs, Agriculture, Trade and Finance.
“When we hold the symposium in September and after the independence week (October 4th to 9th), we shall crown it all by having the joint Ministerial commission in Kampala where several ministers from Kenya will come to Uganda to discuss in details some of the issues that will be looked at in Mombasa and Nairobi,” Galiwango revealed.
He added, “We shall come up with a common communique which we should be a blue print for us to use when doing our work so that the challenges relating to non-tariff barriers can be locked permanently.”
During the event, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, John Mulimba added that he shall soon be traveling to Nairobi to meet his counterparts to discuss all the non-tariff barriers ahead of the formation of the ministerial commission.
“We shall use the symposium to create platform where business linkages will be established, push for establishment of joint Kenya-Uganda Agri-business committee or council that will work on non-tariff barriers and other policy related concerns,” Mulimba said.
Other expected outcomes of the symposium include; attracting quality investments in production and post-harvesting handling practices and technologies as well as increasing export volumes by strategical positioning local agricultural products in the global market.
The Director Policy and Business Development at Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), Stephen Asiimwe urged the private sector to grab the opportunity and participate in big numbers since the symposium will be used to establish commercial diplomacy which will create more market, more value and opportunities for Ugandans.