Tanzania implemented a ban on Kenya’s value-added tea imports two weeks ago, citing market saturation that posed a threat to the local produce.

Kenyan companies, notably Kericho Gold, have been extensively exporting their highly sought-after finished tea to Dar, prompting Tanzanian producers to voice concerns about being marginalised.

However, in a surprising turn of events, Tanzania reversed its initial stance last week, permitting Kenya to resume tea exports.

Trade officials in Nairobi welcomed this development, with Trade PS Ombudo K’Ombudo expressing gratitude to their Tanzanian counterparts for addressing the issue during the East African Community (EAC) Sectoral Council meeting in Arusha.

The reversal by Tanzania was reportedly influenced by an intervention from the East African Community, as Dar’s ban was found to be inconsistent with the common market protocol.

In an official memo, the Tea Board of Tanzania, the regulatory body overseeing the country’s tea sector, announced the resumption of issuing import licenses effective February 19, 2024.

The memo directed tea processors, blenders, packers, and traders to adhere to all terms and conditions outlined in the Tea Act and Regulations before and after importation.

It stressed the importance of conducting fair business practices to ensure that the tea meets both domestic and international quality standards.

Kenya’s Trade PS mentioned plans for a Joint Trade Council meeting between the two countries in the coming weeks. The objective is to review and address any trade barriers affecting the economic relations between Tanzania and Kenya.

gandae@businessdayafrica.org