Kenya goes large on trade
Kenya and the five other members of the East African Community (EAC) have decided to expand their joint trade footprint and fully roll out the trade bloc’s single customs territory (SCT). The SCT commenced in 2014 as a pilot project that largely centred on the Northern Transport Corridor running from the Kenyan port of Mombasa through to other countries in the region. The SCT arrangements include a common external tariff (CET) structure for goods imports from countries beyond the EAC, collection of taxes and duties at the point of entry to the EAC, duty-free trade between members of the EAC and common customs procedures among the participating countries (namely Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and South Sudan). The pilot has been deemed a success by an EAC-wide committee and has reportedly improved trade facilitation by streamlining procedures, reducing transit times and cutting transaction costs. Roll-out of the SCT is good news for regional and international traders, and could help to further boost trade flows across the EAC and the region’s integration into global value chains. As part of an on-going assessment, the EAC will complete a review of the CET by the end of 2018, which could result in further trade regime adjustments.