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Egypt and Kenya explore maritime trade joint agreement. (Shipping).

Egypt and Kenya have not always enjoyed trouble-free trade relations. That will not change overnight but, as ANDREW MAIDEN reports on their proposals for shipping, where there's a will Where There's a Will is the eighth Nero Wolfe detective novel by Rex Stout. Prior to its publication in 1940 by Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., the novel was abridged in the May 1940 issue of The American Magazine, titled "Sisters in Trouble.  there's a way.

Egypt has invited Kenya to set up a trade council to develop maritime business between the two nations. At a meeting in Mombasa on October 5, officials from the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Egyptian representatives from the Red Sea and Suez Canal Suez Canal, Arab. Qanat as Suways, waterway of Egypt extending from Port Said to Port Tawfiq (near Suez) and connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez and thence with the Red Sea. The canal is somewhat more than 100 mi (160 km) long.  ports agreed that both countries would benefit from intra-African trade.

In the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile
 both countries have set up working committees to explore the scope of the proposed council. The Egyptians have offered Kenyans the opportunity to train ports personnel at their more advanced ports under the auspices of the council. This is seen as a key plank of any agreement as it enables the Kenyan ports to catch up with those in Egypt. The KPA chairman, Major Gen. (Rtd) Aboud Rafrouf, and other port executives will visit ports in the Red Sea and Suez Canal as part of the joint strategy to strengthen maritime trade opportunities. No timetable has been set for an official inauguration of a council.

A KPA source said that the hardest obstacle to overcome will be that of competition over hinterland markets such as Ethiopia and Sudan. But the training offered by Egypt is seen as an act of goodwill that should allay al·lay  
tr.v. al·layed, al·lay·ing, al·lays
1. To reduce the intensity of; relieve: allay back pains. See Synonyms at relieve.

2.
 initial scepticism over competitive motives.

Commenting on the joint agreement, Mostafa El Ahwal, in an address to the members of the Kenya National Chamber Of Commerce & Industry, said: "We are sure to boost trade and ease problems here and enhance activities between both countries."

African observers such as Herman de Meester of the European Community European Community: see European Union.
European Community (EC)

Organization formed in 1967 with the merger of the European Economic Community, European Coal and Steel Community, and European Atomic Energy Community.
 Shipowners Association (ECSA ECSA Exchange Carriers Standards Association
ECSA Engineering Council of South Africa
ECSA European Community Studies Association
ECSA European Community Shipowners’ Associations (Belgium)
ECSA Eastern, Central and Southern Africa
) in Brussels expressed doubts as to the value of a maritime agreement between the two countries: "I can see the logic of Kenya and Tanzania working closely together, but there is no obvious synergy with Egypt."

The initiative comes at a time when both countries have sought to improve relations that have been put under severe strain by years of trade wars. The road to agreement, however, will be a rocky one. Just days after the Mombasa meeting, the two countries clashed on the issue of the export of Egyptian toiletries toi·let·ry  
n. pl. toi·let·ries
An article, such as toothpaste or a hairbrush, used in personal grooming or dressing.

toiletries nplartículos mpl de aseo (=
 into the Kenyan market. Kenya Revenue Authority The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is the tax collection agency of Kenya. It was formed July 1, 1995 to enhance tax collection on behalf of the Government of Kenya. It collects a number of taxes and duties, including: value added tax, income tax and customs.  Commissioner General John Munge commented: "There are certain trade protocols in the Comesa treaty that allow member-countries to take action in cases where their industries are being threatened by imports from other countries." Yet press counsellor at the Egyptian Embassy, Sohair Younis, rebutted this claim by saying "Egyptian exports to Kenya are very few. There is no threat of flooding the Kenyan market by products from Egypt." Both countries are signatories to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is a preferential trading area with twenty member states stretching from Libya to Zimbabwe. COMESA formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981.  (Comesa) Free Trade Area (FTA FTA
abbr.
Future Teachers of America
) protocol which provides for duty-free access for members' products. The protocol looks likely to be disregarded for the immediate future.

In Nairobi on September 20, the two countries had previously agreed to iron out outstanding trade issues on certain products including tea, textiles and tyres. They agreed to adopt a customs certification process similar to that under the US's African Growth and Opportunity Act In May 2000, the U.S. Congress approved legislation known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA (Title I, Trade and Development Act of 2000; P.L. 106-200).  (Agoa) which entails the removal of commercial invoices and a requirement to identify the products being exported. Currently, trade between the countries is in favour of Kenya in a ratio of six to one.

The jury is still out as to whether the maritime trade council will succeed. But as long as both countries share the will, then the chances of success must be supported. And if the council succeeds, then this could help pave the way for greater understanding between the two nations and bolster wavering commitment to institutions such as Comesa's Free Trade Area.
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Author:Maiden, Andrew
Publication:African Business
Date:Dec 1, 2002
Words:633
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