Kenya, Pakistan scrap trade barriers, set to sign MoU on products standards

KENYA/PAKISTAN – The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and Pakistan Standard Quality and Control Authority (PSQCA) are set to soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), on matters of standards for products.

This comes after the two countries, Kenya and Pakistan, announced the removal of the ‘Attestation Fee’ that was previously being charged by the Pakistan High Commission in Nairobi, culminating a long-standing tariff war that hurt trade between the two countries.

Pakistan slapped the fee on Kenyan tea when it initiated taxation of Pakistan rice at 75 per cent under the East African Community (EAC) protocol in 2007. Tea exporters from Kenya were required to get their export documents confirmed and approved by the Pakistan High Commission, before shipping out consignments.

“I am glad to inform the Kenyan traders today that the attestation fee has officially been removed. And I have on record the confirmation of the removal of that gazette notice in Pakistan.”

Betty Maina, Cabinet Secretary, Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Tweet

She spoke at a joint media briefing in Nairobi where she said scrapping of the fee will make Kenyan tea more attractive in the Pakistan, which is the biggest export market for local tea.

On matters plant health, both sides have agreed to strengthen collaboration in Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) and Plant Variety protection, seed quality assurance and enforcement, and exchange programmes to enhance learning from experiences.

Two MoUs on plant protection initiated in 2016 on Mangoes and Citrus importation from Pakistan have been finalized and are ready for signing, subject to concurrence by Kenya’s State Department for Agriculture.

Kenya has also requested Pakistan to consider importation of avocado, herbs, nuts, and vegetables from Kenya. The Pakistan side agreed to consider the request. In this regard, the CS revealed that Kenya has prepared and already shared two MoUs on avocados and nuts exports to Pakistan for their review and consideration.

The two countries, initiated talks on April 7 this year, which also included development of MoUs that will help increase and diversify bilateral trade.

The Pakistan High Commissioner, Saqlain Syedah, commented that removal of non-tariff barriers will open a new era for Kenyan tea exporters and Pakistan importers.

According to Syedah, the agreement is in line with Pakistan’s policy on Africa, aimed at establishing ease of doing trade.

A number of MoUs are in the offing, and are expected to boost trade between the two countries which are working on technical standards for products.

They are keen to strengthen collaboration in areas of standardization, conformity assessment, sharing of technical information and training of each other’s personnel in the field of standards, CS Betty noted yesterday.

Pakistan is the second top export destination for Kenya after Uganda, with trade between the two countries being in favor of Kenya.

In 2020, Kenyan exports to Pakistan were valued at about Sh55.6 billion (US$ 506 million) against imports worth Sh21.9 billion (US$199 million).

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