Officials from the Governments of the Republic of Uganda and its Kenyan counterpart have this morning met at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters to discuss The Joint verification Trade Mission as one of the ways of advancing Bi-lateral trade between both countries.
According to the two countries the trade mission will not only involve the sugar verification exercise like it was the case in the first meeting held in March 2019, but will also tackle other market access challenges in areas such as poultry, maize and dairy products.
Previously the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in line with its core mandate of promoting commercial and economic diplomacy, had engaged the Government of the Republic of Kenya in what came to be known as Joint Ministerial Commission to secure concessions to increase Uganda’s trade volumes of goods especially sugar exported to Kenya.
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Ms Grace Adong, the Acting Permanent Secretary noted that this was not an accident, but rather a process of “meticulous calculation and foresight of the political leadership of both countries.
“The efforts to resolve the trade issues between Uganda and Kenya are being perused in the spirit of promoting cooperation and integration within the East African Community,” said Adong
Ms. Adong further reiterated that the benefits of integration and cooperation far outweigh the costs and that total trade between Uganda and Kenya has increased from 168 million dollars registered in 1999 to 1.247 billion dollars in 2020, an increment of 644%.
Total trade was recorded as 1.325 billion dollars in the year before COVID-19 – 2019, she added
Amb. Johnson Weru, the Principal Secretary of State Department for Trade, Enterprise and Development under the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development of the Republic of Kenya noted that this meeting was to, among others follow up on what was agreed during the 18th December and March 2019 meetings between President Kenyatta and President Museveni intended to increase the amount of sugar export from Uganda beyond the COMESA protocol.
“Kenya moved into the formulation of what was agreed during the March 2019 understanding between President Kenyatta and President Museveni. This will increase the amount of sugar export from Uganda beyond the COMESA protocol,” he said
Recalling as to whether the issue of quota of 20,000 metric tonnes of Ugandan sugar that was eligible to enter Kenya had been resolved.
Sugar is one of the key products of Uganda with an annual production capacity of approximately 550,000 mts (Five hundred and Sixty Thousand Metric Tons), a domestic consumption of approximately 360,000 mts (Three Hundred and Sixty Thousand Metric Tons) and a surplus of 190,000 mts (One Hundred and Ninety Thousand Metric Ton).
In December 2019, during the Mid- Term Review of the outcomes of the Joint Ministerial Commission held in Kampala, the two parties noted that the sugar exports had increased from 36,000 metric tons to 57,273 metric tons as of October 2019.
It was then agreed that a verification Mission would be undertaken by Kenya to Uganda to ascertain the origin status of Uganda’s sugar in order to be considered for further increases of the quota to 90,000 metric tons.
The Verification Mission included field visits sugar factories among others; Bwendero sugar factory, Kiryandongo sugar factory, Atiak sugar factory Hoima sugar factory, and Kakira sugar factory