NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2 – The Trade Ministry says the National Trade Policy framework is complete and is headed for the Cabinet within the next six to eight months for approval.
Permanent Secretary for Trade, Engineer Abdulrasaq Ali said the ministry had put in place the necessary committees so that once the policy is passed by the Cabinet, implementation will be smooth and effortless.
“Along the way, we are sorting out the regulatory framework, which is the legal backing for the policy. We are beginning national consultations and within eight months maximum we should be through. Legal issues and how to handle disputes are all entrenched in the framework,” Ali declared.
Ali further added the country will allow a further 17 percent more duty free imports from the European Union (EU) block within the next 20 years.
“We are not giving 100 percent duty free importation like the EU is giving us free exportation. We have been selective in what we give. We will not endanger our local industries and sectors. The reason for this is if we allow, we may get cheap products and farmers will stop farming. If we do then they will be buying cheaper maize and rice products,” he stated.
Engineer Ali, was speaking to private sector and relevant stakeholders after opening the East African and World Trade Organization (WTO), Trade Policy Review (TPR) preparatory meeting this morning.
The meeting is in preparation for the second joint TPR scheduled to take place from the 24th – 26th of October next year.
Kenya and other East African states are reviewed by the WTO on a six year cycle, with the US, and EU blocks being reviewed every 2 years as developed countries.
It is important tonote the last review will be different from the previous reviews as the country will be reviewed together with other EAC partner states for the second time.
Ali further affirmed “the success of the Doha Round and a stable multilateral trading system will ensure Kenya secures a big share in the growth of world trade and also lead to a positive impact on rural development and ultimately the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.”