Kenya Hopes to Reap big on Global Trade Pact
Kenya hopes to reap big on global trade if a proposal from a local working group is adopted in a planned World Trade Organisation document.
Trade PS Dr Chris Kiptoo says ratification of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) by Kenya, which is a member of the WTO, will help reduce red tape and facilitate rapid transit of goods into and across members’ territories.
In a speech read on his behalf by Ken Trade CEO Mr Amos Wangora during a ceremony to launch the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) at a Machakos Hotel, Dr Kiptoo said other expected reforms include rapid clearance of cargo to enhanced cooperation of border agencies.
The 164 member global trade body hopes the full implementation of the TFA would further reduce trading costs by up to 14 percent and create close to 20 million new jobs across the globe.
According to an earlier study on the planned realignments most of the anticipated jobs will benefit developing countries where most of the reforms are expected to take place.
“As members of the committee you are required to identify policy gaps, give guidance and advise the government on the way forward in as far as Trade Facilitation matters are concerned, ’’he said.
“We hope this will be the case in our country and this committee is expected to be a key driver in attaining this critical national goal,” read part of his statement.
Among some of its key objectives, the TFA committee hopes at promoting an inclusive growth of all sizes of business by making cross border trade easier, quicker, predictable and less costly.
Kenya ratified the agreement on December 10, 2015 alongside other WTO members’ states enabling the agreement to come into force on February 22 this year.
The committee which begin its deliberations on April 9 is expected to conclude its sittings this Thursday and develop a three-year cost work plan for the NTFC, allocate categories c and B measures to the four working groups besides coming up with specific time frames for implementation.
Dr Kiptoo said the government is liaising with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) in ensuring that local goods and services favorably compete in the international market.
He said one of the measures being taken to fast track this is through the operationalisation of the National Electronic Single Window System (NESWS).
“The Kenya Private Sector Alliance and the Government of Kenya have been involved in development of proposals to expedite regional integration so as to facilitate cross-border trade with neighbouring countries and improve Kenya’s overall investment,” he explained.
“One of the strategies ,the National Electronic Single Window System will help reduce cargo is dwell time at the Port of Mombasa to a maximum of three days and a maximum of one day at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport within a period of year after operationalization,” he added.
He said the system is currently under implementation and added that good progress has been realised.
By Samuel Maina