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Kenya forms team to negotiate international trade deals

The Government has formed a multi-agency council to coordinate bilateral, regional, inter-regional and multilateral trade.

In a gazette notice yesterday, Industry, Trade and Co-operatives Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed said the National Trade Negotiations Council (NTNC) will identify trade policy gaps, give guidance and advise government on key trade issues.

The development follows the recent launch of National Trade Policy to help grow both domestic and international trade.

The formation of NTNC is in line with the Marrakesh Agreement of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by 124 countries in 1994 to help improve global trade.

The terms of reference for the committee, whose members have been drawn from 60 government ministries, State departments and corporations also include analysing all concluded trade agreements.

It is hoped that the committee will be advising government on the implications of the trade agreements to the economy and how to take advantage of them to grow external trade.

Kenya has been facing challenges in getting value out of trade agreements which have previously been struck without thorough analyses. "The council also expected to analyse all trade proposals and generate negotiating positions and strategies before meeting their counterparts," noted the gazette notice.

According to CS Mohamed, the council, which will be chaired by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry, will also come in handy to advise government on possible options to pursue on addressing emerging trade disputes. Small and medium-sized enterprises will also be helped to tap into international trade.

The council will be expected to look at all trade documents, notifications, coming from bodies such as WTO, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Economic Partnership Agreements, Agoa, East African Community, Comesa, and make decisions.

By: By Patrick Alushula

Source: standardmedia.co.ke

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