10 MAY 2019







The 1st Annual County Government Trade Ministers’ conference (CGTMC) on Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA ) kicked off with a positive attitude from the participants despite poor attendance of County Trade Ministers. 


Giving his key note address and state of play of AfCFTA, Dr. Fred Simiyu, Deputy Director International Trade, state Department for Trade, said that it was “unfortunate that most County trade Ministers were not present for this timely conference.”  He however expressed optimism that future county Government Trade Ministers Conference will be well attended as more effort will be done to nature the forum.


Dr. Fred who was representing, Dr. Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary, State Department of Trade Ministry of Industry Trade and Cooperatives, gave a presentation on AfCFTA. He focused on the AfCFTA agreement protocols, which aimed at broader trade and economic integration in social cultural development economic stability and thereby raising standards of life and establishing peaceful co-existence between member states. Dr. Fred Cited the Kigali Declaration that launched the adoption and signing of the AfCFTA legal instruments. The principles of AfCFTA in article 5 include progressively eliminate tariffs and non-tariffs bariers to trade in goods, liberalize trade in services and cooperate on investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy. He gave a startling statistics that 14 countries accounted for about 72.65 % share of Kenya’s Top Export market in 2017 and 12 products accounted for about 67.5% share if Kenya’s top Export products in the same year. He also mentioned that India and China have huge trade imbalances with Kenya.   He further said that member states shall enter into Phase II negotiations in the areas of Intellectual property rights, investment and Competition Policy. He divulged that state parties may support the establishment and operation of special economic Zones for the purpose of accelerating development and the benefits of AfCFTA to African Countries.


Dr. Fred shared the integrated National Export Development and Promotion Strategy that aims to transform Kenya’s Economy through Export lead industrial, Agricultural and trade in services development. The priority sectors include Manufacturing, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Mining, oil and gas, and trade in services


Dr. Fred mentioned that the Kenya’s Presidency has led the way in securing market access opportunities for Kenya through COMESA-EAC-SADC, Bilateral meeting with such Countries as USA, China and European Union. He said that Kenya and China signed the sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS). In his final remarks, Dr. Fred cited that the Integrated National Export Development and Promotion strategy (IEDPS) and the National Trade Policy are two instruments being implemented by state department of Trade to increase exports to world markets. He said that the two instruments with the AfCFTA will stimulate production of agro-products and manufactured goods in the counties for export. His parting shot were diversify the export basket, develop new markets and grow the exporter base. And on the behalf of the Principal Secretary, He declared the 1st Annual County Government Trade Ministers’ Conference open.


Mr. David Arega, Director of Partnerships at SAUTI. gave a presentation on creating a supportive environment for women cross border traders (CBTs). Mr. Arega cited some of the challenges faced by female CBTs, which included lack of information on the privileges and limits of the AfCFTA, lack of information on cross border trade including market prices, border procedure and exchange rate, complex documentation, non-tariff barriers, non – competitive quality and prices of produce, non-harmonized standards. Mr. Arega also cited some statistics that $ 5.6 billion is the annual intra-EAC trade, $ 2 billion is the annual small scale intra-EAC trade and that there are 16 million traders in EAC of which 60% are women and primarily trade in staples and agricultural commodities. Mr. Arega mentioned that SAUTI. has developed a ‘SAUTI. mobile solution’ that supports traders with information, market information and incident reporting. SAUTI. also developed an impact Model that aims at reducing cost of business, greater accountability, and improved business and trade knowledge.


In his final presentation, Mr. Arega cited the opportunities for County Government to support CBTs as part of AfCFTA implementation. He mentioned that the counties can provide platforms to women that disseminate information on opportunities offered by AfCFTA, provide traders with market intelligence, and support around value addition to make exports competitive, lobby for harmonization of product standards, reduce tax burden and documentation requirement and partner with relevant players in the CBT ecosystem to draw on existing expertise e.g. the Kenya National Bureau of Standards, to collect better data on for Data driven policy and action.


Ms Klaudine Wakasa, Trade Commissioner, High Commission of Canada in Kenya made a presentation on Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement (CETA) discussing innovation on dispute resolution. Ms Klaudine elaborated why Canada is entering a trade agreement with the EU and what makes CETA different from previous trade agreement. Ms Klaudine cited that the agreement will be fully implemented once it is ratified by all EU member states. She mentioned that the Multi directional increase in overall exports, growth in aluminum, motor vehicles and parts and inorganic chemical sectors as early results in the agreement. She went further to explain the CETA dispute resolution mechanism citing permanent tribunal, conflict of interest, chance of appeal, strong protection of the right to regulate for all levels of government and joining efforts with other partners for set up a multilateral court as some of the ways to handle disputes.  Finally she finished her presentation with myth busting of the CETA agreement. She refuted that CETA diminishes right of the EU to regulate for public policy purposes, diminishing food safety standards in the EU, forcing EU privatize public services, allowing American companies to sue the EU through investment dispute settlement provisions and that CETA does not result in an increase of GHG emissions.



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