29 November 2018

Tanzania Snubs Uganda's Invitation for Bilateral Talks

Kampala — Tanzania has ignored multiple requests from Uganda for a bilateral meeting to address trade concerns.

Uganda in September petitioned Tanzania over dipping trade relations on a number of issues that have negatively impacted trade between the two countries.

Ms Hadija Nakakande, the Ministry of Trade public relations manager, had in September confirmed they had petitioned Tanzania to address issues related to Ugandan exports into Tanzania.

However, the bilateral would have given opportunity for both countries to relay their concerns.

Key among the issues, she said, would include resolving the issue of road user fees, which require Ugandan exporters to pay for using Tanzania roads, retesting products that have already been certified by Uganda National Bureau of Standards, free movement of people and charging Ugandan traders' business visas.

Ugandan clearing and forwarding agents have also been raising concerns over the fact that they have been denied an opportunity to open outlets in Tanzania.

The Trade Ministry, Ms Nakakande said would also seek to address the recurring issue that has seen countries raise a red-flag on re-exporting goods imported from other countries.

Sour relations

The meeting follows concerns over denying entry to some of Ugandan products into Tanzania and slapping some with prohibitive taxes.

Tanzania had announced that it would slap Ugandan sugar with a 25 per cent Import Duty contrary to the East Africa Common Market Protocol.

Other products that had been denied entry into the country include sweets and other sweeteners that Tanzania claimed are re-exported from other countries.

However, Daily Monitor has now learnt that Tanzania has since September not responded to multiple requests from Uganda for a bilateral meeting.

During a telephone interview, Mr Emmanuel Atwine, the senior commercial officer Ministry of trade, yesterday revealed that Tanzania was yet to respond despite several attempts by Uganda.

"They did not respond," he said.

Efforts have also been taken through the embassy of Uganda in Tanzania but all have been futile," Mr Atwine said.

Way forward

The minister is now planning a visit to the East African country to secure a face to face meeting with Tanzania.

"They have not yet responded but we are planning on going there ourselves, we even engaged our embassy to talk to them but still no positive response," he responded explaining that the minister will set the date of travel.

Treaty

Consensus. A consensus to allow Uganda export sugar to Tanzania was reached by the two East African countries, according to a report following the second session of the Joint Permanent Commission meeting held in Kampala in August.

Relations between Uganda and Tanzania have for long been sour and multiple efforts have been taken to correct them.

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