The Ministers of Trade and Finance in the East African Community (EAC) have adopted 35 percent as the maximum rate charged for products classified under the 4th Band of the EAC Common External Tariff (CET).
Goods in this band include dairy and meat products, cereals, cotton and textiles, iron and steel, edible oils and alcoholic beverages.
Others are furniture, leather products, fresh-cut flowers, fruits, nuts, sugar and confectionery, coffee, tea, spices, headgears, ceramic products and paints among others.
“The move is set to spur intra-regional trade by encouraging local manufacturing, value addition and industrialisation,” said EAC Secretary-General, Mr Peter Mathuki, during a press conference in Mombasa.
This followed a meeting in Mombasa chaired by Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary, Ms Betty Maina, who is also the chairperson EAC Council of Ministers.
The six EAC partner States reached a consensus that the 35 per cent tax will be levied effective July 1.
The new levy is higher than the 30 or 33 per cent tariff that was earlier proposed by partner States.
The decision finally resolves the implementation of the EAC Common External Tariff which commenced in 2005 after the EAC Customs Union Protocol came into force.
The EAC CET review is anchored on Article 12(2) of the Protocol which provides for a review of EAC CET after every five years.
Uganda Medical Association (UMA) welcomes the tariff change.
“35% was proposed as the maximum CET rate by the UMA to increase protection for the infant industries against imports; a position that later, was acceded to by the Government of Uganda and made the Uganda’s position during the CET review process which commenced in 2016,” UMA said in a statement.