Traders can now expedite the clearance and release of goods along the Kenya borders following a partnership agreement that was recently signed in Nairobi between Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) and the Global Alliance for Trade (GIZ) to implement risk based pre-arrival processing in the Single Window System (Kenya TradeNet) in order to reduce trade barriers along the Kenyan Borders. The partnership aims to fast track the clearance and release of goods, increase predictability and reduce costs for traders. Risk based pre-arrival processing will allow customs and border agencies improve risk assessment by ensuring that less effort is expended on low-risk shipments while more resources are focused on high risk shipments.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement ceremony at KenTrade offices, KenTrade Chief Executive Officer Amos Wangora said that the move is in accordance with World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement of which Kenya is a signatory.“Implementation of this is in line with World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, in particular Article 7.1 which place emphasis on Pre-arrival Processing and Article 7.4 which highlights the Risk Management”. He added that under the agreement, the two organizations have also committed to promote the importance of the Trade Facilitation Agreement implementation, conduct regular meetings among partner government agencies to identify and tackle risk management issues together, and provide technical assistance to government agencies to build their capacity in risk profiling, improve risk profiles and develop solutions that will facilitate cargo clearance.
Implementation of the risk based pre-arrival processing in the Single Window System (Kenya TradeNet) will increase predictability and reduce costs for traders, allowing customs and border agencies to be more efficient at the ports of entry. Mr. Markus Wauschkuhn, the Project Lead, Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation organization said that GIZ will work with KenTrade in making trading in Kenya simpler, faster and more cost-effective by ensuring a balance between compliance and minimizing disruption and costs to legitimate trade. “A decision on the release of goods can be prepared based on the data submitted to border agencies before arrival which will gradually reduce the time and cost to release the goods” he said. He added that implementation of the pre-arrival risk based processing will be beneficial to the government agencies, State Department of Trade, the private sector and importers and exporters. The two institutions are set to carry out a series of capacity-building activities to assist border agencies improve risk assessments.
In November 2017 KenTrade launched the Information for Trade in Kenya portal (InfoTradeKenya), an on-line platform which provides traders with step by step guide as well information on all the requirements needed to import or export commodities in Kenya. KenTrade has so far documented procedures for 61 commodities. The target is to have all commodities imported and exported to and from Kenya documented. Implementation of the portal was in line with Article 1 of World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) which obliges member states to make trade information available to increase transparency.
InfoTradeKenya was implemented with the technical support from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and financial support from TradeMark East Africa.