, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 24 – East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie has clarified that sugar coming from Uganda to Kenya is duty free.
Speaking during a media briefing on Monday, Kandie said this is in line with East African Community (EAC) which allows all goods originating from any member states to another should not be subjected to customs duty.
“The EAC Customs Union Protocol was signed in 2005 and became fully operational in 2010. Article 14 of the protocol provides that goods originating from any partner State and which satisfies the EAC Rules of Origin are eligible for community tariff treatment. This means that such goods will not be quantitatively restricted in any way or subjected to customs duty when entering another partners state,” Kandie explained.
She says any information that sugar from Uganda is being subjected to customs duty is misleading adding that this could only happen to goods that do not meet EAC Rules of Origin.
“In line with EAC commitment the Ugandan products including sugar will only be accorded preferential tariff treatment as long as it is produced in Uganda and meets the EAC Rules of Origin. Should these products including sugar exported to Kenya from Uganda be deemed as not meeting the EAC Rules or Origin, they would not be accorded community tariff treatment and thus would attract 100 percent duty,” the CS added.
Her statement amid opposition concerns that by allowing sugar import from Uganda, it will give room for smuggling of the commodity from other countries.
But Kandie says there is no need to politicize the sugar issue as Kenya has always imported sugar from Uganda but what happened after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent visit to the country was just to accelerate the imports as well as improve trade balance between the two countries.
In 2014, Kenya exported to Uganda goods worth Sh60.8billion and imported goods valued at Sh17.6billion in the same year.
“The trade between the two countries remains in favor of Kenya,” Kandie noted.
At the moment Uganda remains a major market for Kenyan goods.