Egypt returns to tea auction, Kenya dispute unresolved
Egypt returned on Tuesday, October 9, to the Kenyan tea market after a three-week absence, AFP reported. Traders said Egypt's return to the market boosted demand, but prices remained low because of tensions in Afghanistan, usually one of the largest buyers at the auction.
A trade dispute between Egypt and Kenya was sparked after Cairo imposed an import duty on Kenyan tea exports. Nairobi tea traders reported that a consignment of some 10 million kilograms (22 million pounds) of Kenyan tea had been blocked at Egypt’s Port Said after authorities in Cairo demanded a 30 percent import duty.
This is the second tariff controversy Kenya and Egypt have had over tea trade. The Egyptian ministry of finance claimed the new tax came as a response to a decision by the Kenyan government to continue imposing import duty on Egyptian imports of paper sacks, rice and wheat.
Egypt and Kenya are members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and have signed a free trade agreement, which allows the free flow of goods between member states. In spite of this, the agreement allows for member countries to impose duty on selected goods if the state presents evidence that a particular local industry is being threatened by imports.
"Both governments have undertaken to reach a lasting agreement on the issue and a clear-cut interpretation of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) tariff structure," an official at the East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) told AFP. — (Mena Report)
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