Kenya to export cars as EAC meets minimum free trade requirement – Business Daily

East African Community (EAC) Principal Secretary Dr Kevit Desai. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG
Kenya will soon export cars to the rest of the continent after the East African Community met the minimum requirement to allow it to trade under the African Continental Free Trade (AfCTA). The move will see countries like Kenya start selling products out of the bloc.
The partner states have adopted the EAC Tariff Offer for Category A products to reach a minimum of 90.2 percent or 5,129 tariff lines out of the total 5,688, which is a minimum threshold required before a region can be allowed to trade under AfCTA.
The goods under category A include agricultural produce, automobile and textile among other items.
“The expanded opportunities include manufactured products, value addition, regional value chains, agro-processing, motor vehicle assembly, pharmaceuticals, auto spares industries and mineral processing among other areas,” said EAC Principal Secretary Kevit Desai.
The PS was speaking during an EAC Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) held over the weekend.
The EAC partner states tariff offers will now be subjected to verification by the AfCFTA Secretariat, which is based in Accra, Ghana.
The AfCFTA has so far verified 29 tariff offers to ensure that they meet required modalities and it is expected to increase to 34 once the EAC partner states offers are verified.
Verification of the tariff offers will ensure that AfCFTA member states that meet the minimum requirements start trading under the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
Implementation of free trade has been gathering momentum since the date when it was effected. Last month AfCFTA concluded negotiations on rules of origin, a move expected to significantly cut tariffs on goods moving within the continent.
Wamkele Mene, the secretary-general of AfCFTA, said the conclusion of negotiations on rules of origin was an important milestone towards a successful implementation of the free trade pact.
Trading under AfCFTA started officially on January 1, 2021, but it could not be effected as problems regarding rules of origin remained unresolved, making it difficult to identify products that could enjoy the preferential tariff regime under the agreement.
Each trading bloc has its own Common External Tariff, which it charges on goods coming outside a given bloc. For instance, EAC charges up to 50 percent duty on goods being shipped from other regions like Economic Community for West Africa (Ecowas) to EAC.
Kenya was the first country in the eastern Africa region to ratify the trade deal after the National Assembly adopted it.
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By Kwetu Buzz

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