UK protests proposed Kenya ban on imports of used buses and trucks
The UK has protested Kenya’s impending ban on imports of used buses and trucks, fearing the embargo could reduce the flow of used commercial vehicles from the European country.
Betty Maina, Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization and Trade, said UK authorities were uncomfortable with the used car sanction, which was due to come into force on July 1 before being frozen by the tribunal.
An escalation of differences between Kenya and Britain could affect the flow of goods between the two nations. Kenya and Britain signed a new trade agreement in December 2020 allowing duty-free access for Kenyan goods to the UK market and avoiding post-Brexit disruption.
The event will be managed by the Kenya-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Board, Ms Maina said.
The EPA Council is made up of ministerial representatives from both countries responsible for ensuring smooth implementation of the trade agreement, which entered into force in March 2021, including the resolution of trade disputes.
“The UK side has formally raised questions about the regulatory changes for used vehicles. This will be part of the discussions within the EPA Board,” Ms Maina told Business Daily.
“This [EPA Council route] is a fairly normal instrument for examining export figures and experiences between the two countries.
The Kenya Bureau of Standards issued a notice in April freezing the importation of used vehicles over seven meters in length from July 2022.
Trucks with a load capacity of 3.5 tonnes and more were also banned. Imports of tractor heads and main engines less than three years old were allowed until June 2023, after which only new units would be allowed into Kenya.
The advisory, however, was suspended by Environment and Lands Court Judge Oscar Angote in early July, pending a decision on a petition by activist Okiya Omtatah, now an elected senator for Busia County.
The UK largely manufactures Leyland trucks, but a considerable number of used Ford and Fiat trucks (from Italy) and Caterpillar construction and mining equipment are shipped to Kenya from the UK .
Used commercial vehicle dealers say market supply gaps and inconsistent policy in the East African Community will shift business to neighboring countries as local players risk shutdown .
They believe that countries like Uganda continue to allow imports of used commercial vehicles, which also operate in Kenya, adding that most European prime mover models are not assembled locally.
Ms Maina did not give any specific rules that the UK is concerned about, but said the matter was still at the technical stage and had not yet been taken to ministerial level.
The Kenyan EPA Board, chaired by Ms. Maina, has among its members Attorney General Kihara Kariuki as well as Cabinet Secretaries for the Treasury, the East African Community (EAC) and Agriculture.
This article first appeared in the Business Daily.