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Tanzania: Kenya's Persistent Trade Squabbles With Tanzania


Trade relations between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam have appeared to sour in recent years because of tariff and non-tariff barriers.
The two squabbling neighbours are yet to fully resolve long-running trade disputes that have seen blockage of goods at the Namanga border despite being signatories to the EAC Common Market Protocol, which allows free movement of goods, services, capital and labour within the bloc.
The persistent squabbling has thrown trade flow across the neighbouring countries into a tailspin and eventually forcing a truce at ministerial level on July 5.
The truce followed a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli last February.
Bilateral meetings
A joint statement on July 5 following months of bilateral meetings between Kenya's Trade PS Chris Kiptoo and his counterpart Elisante ole Gabriel said a truce over trade tensions had been reached.
"The two partner states have called for effective and timely implementation of agreements made during bilateral meetings with a view to ease the flow of goods and services," read a joint communique from Dar.
The deal with Dar was reached after Nairobi agreed not to ask for an extension of a stay on duty on textiles from EAC secretariat, meaning EPZ textiles firms will pay tax if they sell within EAC.
"We are making progress. There's now improved relations between us and Tanzania. There's an open channel; I can call the (Tanzanian) PS, he can also call me any time and resolve issues," Dr Kiptoo said on June 28.
"I have really focused on this from last year... although there are other issues beyond us because they relate to other institutions such KRA, TFDA and TRA."
Latest protests
The latest protests on Saturday that saw transport and business paralysed at the Namanga border, however, indicate that the problems has yet to be resolved.
The Kenyans were protesting mistreatment by the Tanzanian authorities after several milk traders were arrested and taken into custody.

The latest incident piles on to the recent spats between the two countries, which highlights an increasingly strenuous relationship.
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