Government to introduce trade policy

Government has approved the National Trade Policy that will enable business to contribute meaningfully to the economic transformation of the Country.

Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed Thursday said there was need for a robust and dynamic policy environment and strategy direction that took into consideration issues prevailing at the domestic, bilateral regional and multilateral level.

In a speech read on his behalf on Thursday by Trade PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo, Mohammed said Kenya has been operating in an environment of disjointed Trade Policy spread in various government strategy documents hence making coordination difficult.

Mohammed said the policy will officially be launched next week during the Trade Week alongside its enablers National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC), National Trade Negotiations Council (NTNC), Buy Kenya Build Kenya Strategy and National Export Strategy among others.

The policy comes into place after Cabinet approved a consolidated Trade Policy in December 2016. The World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2013 agreed on a Trade Facilitation Agreement which requires member country to implement the Agreement at the domestic level by establishing of NTFC to oversee its implementation, added the CS.

He explained that the objective of the agreement is to facilitate movement of imports and exports across WTO Members territory including goods in transit.

The CS admitted that the trade sector has been experiencing some challenges and the government has had several consultative forums with all stakeholders in the retail sector, particularly the supermarkets value chain and agreed that the sector needs self-regulation to be supported by legal framework.

Kenya has undertaken several economic reforms which are market based and aimed at increasing competitiveness of the economy but unfortunately these reforms have led to increased import competition that the Kenyan industry considers being unfair, added Mohamed.

He noted that the 11th Parliament has also passed a Trade Remedies law which provides Trade Defense instruments to fight against imports which cause material injury to domestic producers.

On his part, the PS said the trade week will feature the Export Processing Zone sale that is aimed at promoting buy Kenyan products, promote Kenya, and also provide a forum for trade stakeholders to showcase the best that the country has to offer and chart a common way forward.

Dr.Kiptoo said the policy will address issues such as the current supply chains going under by introducing regulations in the sectors. He said the government will not give any financial assistance to the sinking Nakummat retail supermarket but will assist the supply chain in restructuring to make sure it remains afloat.

Source: Kenya News Agency