The government of Uganda through Ministry of Foreign Affairs has complained to the High Commission of the Republic of Kenya showing dissatisfaction on how Ugandan Milk and Milk products were recently restricted from accessing the Kenyan market.
In letter dated 15 January from the Ugandan Foreign Affairs Ministry to the High Commission of the Republic of Kenya that Chimpreports has come across, the government protests the manner with in which authorities in Kenya have continued to deliberately constrain and impose unwanted restrictions on the smooth importation of the Uganda’s milk and milk products into Kenya.
The Ugandan government is deeply concerned about the illegal seizure of the Ugandan made milk under the Lato brand by the authorities in Kenya on allegations that they are contraband, counterfeit and substandard.
It says this has not only resulted into the confiscation of 54,310 kg of powdered milk valued at USD 203,630 AND 262,632 liters of UHT milk valued at USD 157, 106 (around 3 billion Uganda shillings) but also have witnessed as sustained negative campaign against Uganda’s milk and milk products.
This according to government contravenes the principle of good neighborliness and Kenya’s obligation under the treaty establishing the East African Community, Customs Union Protocol and common markets protocol and the World Trade organization Facilitation Agreement. The illegal seizures according to the letter took place on the 2nd, 7th and 11th January 2020.
“The ministry would like to note that the illegal seizures were executed despite the fact that the goods had been cleared for entry by the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Dairy Board and Kenya Bureau of Standards. Further the products are certified by the Uganda Bureau of Standards as a partner in the East African Community,” the later reads in part.
According to the EAC trade agreement, states are under obligation to accept each other’s quality and certification marks. In addition there is a harmonized standard for milk under the EAC.
The ministry is also concerned about what they call unfounded claim by Kenya that the products are counterfeit and yet they have been exported by Pearly Dairy Farms Limited who are the registered owners of Lato Trademark and are being picked from the ware houses of authorized distributors.
“Worse still no documents are issued when the products are seized yet the seized products are being kept in conditions that do not meet the basic requirements for keeping such perishable products,” the letter from the ministry claims.
The ministry asks the Kenyan government to release the seized consignment of Lato milk, cease operations specifically targeting Ugandan made milk exported to Kenya, take responsibility for any spoilage of the products that may have been suffered during illegal detention of the products and address any trade concerns within the existing EAC and bilateral frameworks rather than using arbitrary means that could jeopardize the otherwise blossoming trade relations between the two countries.