Kandie: Our trade deal with Uganda (Daily Nation (Kenya))

Kenya and Uganda have agreed to remove all trade barriers that have made it difficult for Ugandan goods, including sugar, to come to the country.

East Africa Community Affairs Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said yesterday the two countries agreed to remove the barriers to help in balancing the trade between them, which she said was currently in favour of Kenya.

Addressing journalists at Teleposta Towers in Nairobi, the CS said there were existing protocols protecting trading between EAC partners, adding that there was no need for new deals to facilitate the import of sugar from Uganda.

The CS waded into the ongoing debate regarding an agreement to allow sugar from Uganda into Kenya, saying there was no such deal.

Ms Kandie accompanied the President during his state visit to Uganda that has since elicited an emotive debate between the opposition and the government after details of a sugar deal emerged.

As long as the protocols still stand there is no need for any other agreement. The two heads of state made a decision to increase trade between the two countries. The discussions were on how to eliminate the trade barriers, she said.

She added that Kenya and Uganda had maintained a good working relationship despite the controversy generated by the sugar agreement.

I spoke this morning with a colleague from Uganda. These are two countries that respect each other and we will continue to work together, she added.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has questioned the alleged sugar deal, saying it was meant to benefit a few individuals at the expense of the local sugar industry.

Meanwhile, acting Agriculture CS Adan Mohammed yesterday told a House committee there was no agreement with Uganda to directly exchange surplus sugar with animal products from Kenya.

Mr Mohammed was invited by the Agriculture Committee to shed light on the reported sugar deal between the two East African countries.

I can say that there is no linkage between the sugar and the products. We have been doing business with Uganda and right now we export goods worth $700 million (Sh70 billion) annually but there is no absolute link, he said.

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