Tanzania has maintained a hardline position on its ban on imports of chicken and poultry products from the US, which it imposed in 2006, and now Washington is pushing discussions on the matter to the regional level, demanding that Dar give a justification for the ban through a process that is above board.
The US says Tanzania’s reasons for the ban should be consistent with Word Trade Organisation requirements.
But the EAC’s Sectoral Council of Ministers Of Trade, Industry, Finance And Investment (SCTIFI), meeting in Arusha early last month, resolved that the US pursue the matter on a bilateral basis with the concerned partner states.
Tanzania has used the ban to protect its poultry farmers from what it sees as unfair competition posed by cheap imports of chicken from the US, whose farmers are supported by the government through subsidies.
The US government officials said that despite correspondence with Tanzanian government institutions, there has been no light shed on the matter.
“The US requested that a justification for the ban be provided based on a risk analysis and scientific reasons, which would be consistent with WTO obligations. In this regard, the US called for transparency in the process,” reads a report by SCTIFI.
US government officials informed the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers that it had provided detailed information to Tanzania on the ban on poultry imports from the US and shared it with the EAC Secretariat.
Washington further told the meeting that the same information was also shared with Kenya through the veterinary services agency and the Ministry of Agriculture.
But the EAC requested that this information be shared with the ministry responsible for trade in Kenya.
The EAC-US trade has been on a rocky path since the EAC member states agreed to fully ban imported secondhand clothes and shoes from the US by 2019 to protect local manufacturers. The decision was reached during the EAC Summit in March 2016.
The EAC expressed concerns that some used clothes and foot wear were originating from Asia through the US that could not be used and therefore increasing incidence of dumping.
In return, the US-based Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association filed a petition on March 21 to review Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania’s Africa Growth and Opportunity Act eligibility.