Tanzania Strategises to Up Trade Through Agoa

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania has expressed its commitment to pulling up its socks in undertaking a number of measures in an effort to boost export to the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

As envisioned in the National Agoa Strategy 2016, the measures according to the Industry and Trade Ministry, include: cutting operational costs to spar production, building a Tanzania-US traders network and improving business environment through the blueprint which sets a stage for a raft of amendments to policy and regulatory reforms.

The list also includes establishment of the trade information module which has just kicked off this month and establishment of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures especially for agricultural products.

Several Tanzanian products, notably clothes and clothing, leather, agricultural and forestry products are big beneficiaries of the preferential African Growth and Opportunity Act arrangements, which has lifted import duty on all eligible products and granted preferential market access upon compliance with rules of origin.

Speaking last week during the US-Tanzania Economic and Business Ties Forum, Tanzania's Investment minister Geoffrey Mwambe said that, despite being endowed with abundant resources, Tanzania has not fully tapped into the lucrative Agoa market, to which 6,400 products have access.

However, going by the statistics from the Industry and Trade ministry availed to The Citizen yesterday, Tanzania has been registering an upward trend, suggesting that it has a potential to do better if it keeps its momentum in addressing barriers to trade.

The country's export earnings under the Agoa jumped to $55.32 million (about Sh127.23 billion) in 2019 compared to the preceding year's $42.83 million (about Sh98.5 billion).

In 2017, the earning's stood at $40.85 million, which was an increase from $37.48 million recorded in a year before.

In 2015 the earnings stood at $28.6 million.

"The government continues with its efforts to sensitise the private sector to grab the Agoa opportunity with a view to increasing the sales of our products to the US under Agoa," reads a part of the statement in response to The Citizen's questions sent to the Industry and Trade ministry.

Investment minister for his part said: "In order to access a global market, it is high time we promoted more investments especially in production and addressed the supply constraints."

"We are doing all in our power to make the business environment attractive."

That is why, Minister Mwambe explained, the government is executing the blueprint that sets a stage for a raft of amendments to laws and regulations governing the conduct of business.

He expressed the government's commitment to making reforms not only on paper, but also by action.

"In ensuring that the government facilitates trade and investment, we are doing all in our power to ensure that all government officials sing the same song," he said.

Citing the example of edible oil and cotton clothes, Agriculture minister Adolf Mkenda said Tanzania was not doing its best because it didn't establish a link between farming and processing.

"We can produce abundant sunflower and cotton, but because we don't have processors, the final product is not as huge as it should be," said Prof Mkenda during the US-Tanzania Economic and Business Ties Forum.

To address the challenge, he said, the government was trying its level best to create a predictable policy environment to attract more processors for the value addition.

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