Tanzania, Kenya to form joint commission to resolve trade barriers

DAR ES SALAAM, July 24 (Xinhua) — Tanzania and Kenya have agreed to form a joint commission for resolving trade barriers between the two east African nations, Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Augustine Mahiga, said on Monday.

The decision to form the commission came after a meeting of foreign affairs ministers from the two countries as part of efforts to implement directives by President John Magufuli and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta after they had intervened to avert an escalating trade war.

Presidents Magufuli and Kenyatta stepped in to stem an escalating trade war that has seen Tanzania and Kenya exchange import bans on several commodities.

“The commission that will be chaired by foreign ministers in respective countries will also include trade, tourism and finance cabinet ministers,” Mahiga told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Kenya imposed restrictions on wheat flour and liquefied petroleum gas from Tanzania while Tanzania retaliated by imposing restrictions on milk and milk products and cigarettes manufactured in Kenya.

“Tanzania and Kenya are one. The sanctions were against East African Community (EAC) customs union protocol but the stage we have reached is a sign that we are committed towards promoting regional integration,” said Mahiga.

Tanzania and Kenya are members of the EAC. Other members of the regional bloc include Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.