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Kenya, Sudan solve dispute

The Standard, Kenya

Kenya, Sudan solve dispute

By Tom Mogusu

19 December 2005

Kenya and Sudan have sorted out differences over the compliance of Comesa rules of origin.

The two countries announced on Sunday that exporters can take advantage of the existing goodwill to increase trade that is valued at Sh5 billion annually.

Kenya and Sudan are members of the Free Trade Area (FTA) within Comesa, but had over the last five years engaged in tussles that hindered trade.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) chairman, Arun Devani, said that despite the fact that the FTA is governed by the provisions of Comesa treaty agreements, Kenyan companies have in the past found its difficult to penetrate the Sudanese market.

"We are now happy to report that issues regarding exports and adherence to the Comesa trade protocol between Kenya and Sudan has been sorted out," he said during a signing ceremony between Kenya and Sudan trade officials in Nairobi.

The Sudanese officials were in Nairobi to ascertain whether Kenyan manufacturers intending to export goods to Sudan complied Comesa rules of origin.

The mission also sought to establish the source of raw materials, production processes and details of costings by Kenyan companies.

The verification mission undertook spot inspections, factory tours and personal interviews with chief executives of the 12 industries visited.

According to a report submitted by the mission, the Kenyan companies had complied with the Comesa rules.

"The documents submitted by manufacturers reflect that much of the raw materials and personnel utilised in the production of goods originate from Comesa countries," the report said.

Kenya’s exports to Sudan have been on the upward trend for the past five years with the value rising from Sh1.9 billion in 2000 to Sh4.3 billion in 2004.