Business, Foreign

Kenya to increase sugar imports from Uganda beyond COMESA protocol

Uganda and Kenya at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters where they discussed ways of advancing bilateral trade between both countries/ TWITTER

Kenya will increase the amount of sugar imports from Uganda beyond the Comesa protocol.

This emerged during talks between Kenyan and Ugandan officials on Monday.

Kenya sent senior officials to Uganda to discuss “ways of advancing bilateral trade between both countries” a day after Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan left the country.

Trade PS Ambassador Johnson Weru said the meeting was to, among others, follow up on what was agreed during the meetings of December 18 and March 2019 between Presidents Kenyatta and Museveni to increase the amount of sugar export from Uganda beyond the Comesa protocol.

Amb Weru said the issue of whether the quota of 20,000 metric tonnes of Ugandan sugar that was eligible to enter Kenya had been resolved.

Kenya a signatory to the Comesa Free Trade Agreement which provides for quota free and duty free access of all commodities from member states.

In 2002, Kenya applied for and got protection for the sugar sector by way of a safeguard under Article 61 of the Comesa Treaty so that sugar exports from Comesa to Kenya are subject to Customs duties.

At the moment, Uganda has an annual production capacity of approximately 550,000 metric tonnes of sugar, with a domestic consumption of approximately 360,000 metric tonnes.

This means it has  a surplus of 190,000 metric tonnes.

“In December 2019, during the Mid- Term Review of the outcomes of the Joint Ministerial Commission held in Kampala, the two parties noted that the sugar exports had increased from 36,000 metric tons to 57,273 metric tons as of October 2019,” Uganda said in a statement.

A joint verification mission will undertake field visits to the following factories — Sezibwa sugar factory, SCOUL sugar factory, FM sugar factory, Mayuge sugar factory, Kakira sugar factory, Kaliro sugar factory, Kamuli sugar factory, Bwendero sugar factory, Hoima sugar factory.

The Joint verification Trade Mission will not only involve the sugar verification exercise but also tackle other market access challenges in areas such as poultry, maize and dairy products.

Uganda’s Trade acting Permanent Secretary Grace Adong said the efforts to resolve the trade issues between Uganda and Kenya are being perused in the spirit of promoting cooperation.

She further observed that the meeting was not an accident, but rather a process of “meticulous calculation and foresight of the political leadership of both countries”.

According to Ugandan officials trade between the two countries has increased from $168 million in 1999 to $1.247 billion in 2020, representing an increment of 644 percent.

Total trade was recorded as $1.325 billion in 2019 before Covid-19 outbreak.

Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in line with its core mandate of promoting commercial and economic diplomacy, has previously engaged Kenya under the framework of Joint Ministerial Commission to secure concessions to increase Uganda’s trade.

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