The presidents of Kenya and Uganda have agreed to resolve trade disputes that are threatening to sour bilateral commercial ties between the two countries.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to meet his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Mueveni on Saturday August 8, ahead of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) summit scheduled for the following day in Kampala.
Among the trade disputes expected to feature in the discussions are the issue of sugar exports into Kenya from Uganda, rice exports, treatment of Ugandan cargo importers at the port of Mombasa and restrictions by Ugandan Authorities on Kenyan beef and cigarette exports.
The trade disputes have caused several losses especially to Ugandan traders who have been complaining about unfair treatment from Kenyan Authorities. Uganda has traditionally been Kenya’s top trading partner in the region, and the biggest consumer of Kenyan goods.
Imports from Kenya have been rising, averaging $250 million in 1998, and reaching an all-time high of $475 million in 2014.
Last year, President Museveni warned Kenyans that he would block the country’s goods from entering Uganda if the Kenya Revenue Authority did not stop blocking Ugandan exports from entering Kenya.
President Museveni said the move was not only “myopic” but that it contravened the East African Community Protocol. “We buy a lot of goods from Kenya. Some of those (KRA) officials are narrow-minded. They wanted to block our sugar. Now they have gone for our chicken. If I say no more, Kenya will feel it,” he said.
Uganda has been locked in a trade dispute with Kenya since 2011 when claims emerged that traders from the landlocked State were simply re-packaging cheap Comesa sugar for resale.