NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – Local motor vehicle manufacturers can now export buses to Tanzania under the East African Common Rules of Origin.
This follows a meeting between officials from the East African Business Council (EABC), the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), and Tanzania Ministry for East African Community.
The meeting, which was held in Dar es Salaam last week, agreed to reinstate vehicles assembled in East Africa at favourable rates under the EAC Origin Status, as per the EAC Treaty.
According to a statement from the EABC, as a result of this agreement, two buses belonging to General Motors East Africa (GMEA) that had been grounded at the Namanga border since December 2008, can now gain entry into the Tanzanian market under a preferential tariff, as per East African rules of origin.
The Executive Director of the EABC Charles Mbogori noted that it was a great milestone for us (Kenya) to mediate the deadlock.
“It is in line with our mission to promote the Private Sector\’s regional and global competitiveness in Trade and Investment and also eliminate the negative effect that Non-Tariff Barriers have on business in the region,” he said.
EABC petitioned the Tanzanian Minister for East African Community following complaints from GMEA, one of EABC members, that TRA had taken an arbitrary decision to waive the EAC Origin Status to large buses that have since 1999 been enjoying preferential treatment.
TRA, in December 2008, refused to grant EAC Origin Status to two buses destined for Tanzania citing concerns that the affected vehicles did not conform to the earlier verification it had carried out in 1999.
However, a meeting between the business community and Tanzanian authorities convened under the auspices of the EABC managed to break the deadlock and TRA officials finally agreed to restore the preferential status, pending a verification mission that should be carried out within 3 months as per EAC rules.