Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) Kenya, on Tuesday, April 11, opened talks with Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan's administration on strategies to tame cross-border illicit trade.
In the new round of talks with Tanzania's Competition Commission, the two governments deliberated on ways to tame outlawed business, especially along the border.
Led by ACA Board Chairman Josephat Kabeabea and Executive Director Njoroge Mbugua, the two countries agreed to enforce public outreach along border towns to curb illicit trade.
They also revealed plans to increase border operations to combat illicit trade, which they argued was affecting the economies of both countries. They committed to expedite Joint Commission for Cooperation deal which was sealed by President William Ruto and his Tanzanian counterpart Suluhu following their meeting in October 2022.
Rolling out stiff penalties for businessmen involved in the illicit trade was also deliberated during the meeting held in Tanzania.
"We are seeking collaboration ensure our mutual markets have fair trade for the benefit of consumers and economy," Kabeabea stated.
Among the products sold in Kenya and Tanzania include pharmaceuticals, electrical appliances, rice, beans and iron sheets among others.
Following the meeting, Tanzania's Competition Commission put on notice individuals selling counterfeit goods disguised as genuine products.
The new strategies came after President Ruto sealed seven deals with Suluhu to bolster bilateral trade between the two countries.
Ruto and Suluhu agreed to eliminate trade barriers to enhance regional cooperation. The two Heads of State agreed that the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC), establishing of efficient border points was also agreed, security and natural gas transportation also featured in the deal.
"Because of the goodwill you built between our two countries, trade has grown phenomenally. In one year, exports from Kenya to Tanzania grew from Ksh31 billion to Ksh45 billion. Trade of goods from Tanzania to Kenya grew from Ksh27 billion to Ksh50 billion. When you and former president Uhuru were working on the barriers to trade, many people thought it would only benefit Kenya but it has also benefitted Tanzania," Ruto stated.
In Response, Suluhu stated, "The initiative began with Uhuru and we had agreed with the previous administration to bridge the gap and make it easier for the two countries to work together. We had identified 68 issues, whereby 54 were solved. We have 14 issues still pending hence we want our Cabinet Ministers to meet and discuss ways in which we can freely trade."