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This will allow local manufacturers to access markets within the region easily, according to Mr Bill Lay, the chief executive of General Motors East Africa.
“We note with concern that the EAC has been arbitrarily suspending the tariff rate for some countries and this has given importers advantage over local manufacturers,” said Mr Lay.
Among the tariffs that Mr Lay faulted included the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (DART) project where import duty on buses with a capacity of more than 25 seats reduced to 10 per cent from July 2007 to June 2009 and import duty exemption was allowed on refrigerated trucks, insulated tankers and garbage and refuse collection trucks.
Speaking at a cocktail hosted by his firm in Arusha for the EAC Summit chairman and Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, last week, Mr Lay also took issue with the rules of origin clause.
“The Comesa rule on goods of economic importance was dropped under the EAC and no explanation has been given. There is also delay in implementing certain rules on substantial transformation since June 2005 and the gazettement of the new change of tariff heading schedule is still pending,” said the chief executive.
Earlier in the year, General Motors was embroiled in a dispute with Tanzanian authorities as some of its buses were held up at the border point.
The dispute arose on whether the buses had met EAC Customs Union Rules of Origin. The buses were however allowed in to Tanzania.
The rules of origin are the criteria needed to determine the national source of a product.
According to EAC rules, for a product to enjoy duty preference within the union, its raw materials should contain at least 35 per cent of local material.
In an earlier interview with the Nation, Mr Lay indicated that inspectors from the Tanzanian authority would be visiting their plant to ascertain that they met stipulated rules.
PARASTATAL heads who signed the Mombasa port community charter risk being sacked if their agencies do not deliver on the contents of the new entity. The charter signed between the government and the private sector aims at improving the movement of cargo from the port into hinterland