Kenya and Tanzania open for business as trade restrictions gets lifted

The two countries have lifted trade restrictions they summarily imposed a while ago.

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Kenya has lifted restrictions on wheat flour and cooking gas imports from Tanzania, which has in turn allowed milk and cigarettes from Kenya.

According to a statement read by Tanzania Foreign Affairs minister Augustine Mahiga, who is also in charge of the East African Community Affairs docket on Sunday, declaring the two East African nations open for business.

“The Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania will lift any other restrictions that affect products and services exchanged between the two countries,” Augustine Mahiga said.

This followed discussions between presidents Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) and John Pombe Magufuli.

Kenya banned the importation of cooking gas from Tanzania in April, after the ministry of energy said the move was meant to curb the proliferation of illegal filling plants.

As a result, Tanzania imposed banned importation of milk from Kenya in retaliation.

Tanzanian LPG companies export to Kenya about 40,000 tonnes of cooking gas annually.

in 2015, Kenya exported goods and services to Tanzania worth $324 according to the data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

Kenya and Tanzania enjoy a frosty relationship mainly caused by their opposite market policies, Kenya is largely a capitalistic economy while Tanzania has embraced a protectionist market where the government has a lot of control.

It is not all clear though; Kenyans will still have to apply for visas when travelling to Tanzania for business, though Mr Mahiga said they were looking into the issue.

“If there are still some bottlenecks, we are pledging to address them to allow our citizens to travel easily,” he said.

The two countries would continue to man border posts jointly while the production of an East African Community (EAC) passport would help ease movement across the states, he said.

The two countries have agreed to set up a joint technical committee chaired by the Foreign Affairs ministers and comprising the EAC Affairs, Trade, Finance, Interior, Energy, Agriculture, Transport and Tourism ministries and any other relevant government agency.

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