Tanzania meets deadline in sweets row with Kenya

By BD

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Tanzania has met Nairobi’s deadline to visit Kenya confectionery, juice, ice cream and chewing gum factories to verify their source of sugar in the products after it restricted the entry of the goods to its market.

Dar and Kampala slapped a 25 per cent import duty on Kenyan confectionery, juice, ice cream and chewing gum earlier in the year, claiming use of zero-rated industrial sugar imports.

Kenya threatened to retaliate against Tanzania made goods if Dar es Salam revenue and standards bodies failed to visit local factories by Sunday to verify their sugar sourcing.

Tanzanian team arrived Monday and held talks with Kenya officials besides making the factory visits in a fresh attempt to resolve the trade spat.

The blockade of Kenyan sweetened products intensified from March.

Tanzania rejected certificates of origin issued by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and opted to levy 25 per cent import duty on Kenyan confectioneries.

Acceptance of the certificate — a document showing where a product has originated from and is used to determine duty for imported goods — guaranteed the entry of Kenyan goods tax-free passage to Uganda and Tanzania.

The East Africa Community common market made up of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi allows free movement of locally manufactured goods within the bloc.

Tanzania and Uganda revenue bodies have however accused Kenyan manufacturers of tilting competition in their favour by using industrial sugar imported under a 10 per cent duty remission scheme.