Intra East Africa Community (EAC) trade from a Kenyan perspective, with an emphasis on re-exports
The objective for this paper is to examine intra-EAC trade with a special emphasis on the position of Kenya in this trade and the role of re-exports. The latter has become possible with the publication by the International Trade Commission (ITC) of this re-export data, although we hasten to add that there is not a comprehensive coverage of the EAC in this data. Kenyan data is only available for 2013 in the most recent years, while re-export data is not available for Tanzania. This leaves 2015 re-export data available for Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda only.
We caution that overall there are many problems with African trade data. This includes the availability of direct (as supplied by the country under examination, in this case Kenya) trade data only for 2013 as the most recent year. To compensate for instances where direct is not available the ITC uses what is known as mirror data where the trade data from the relevant partner is used. For instance, Kenyan exports to Tanzania for 2014 and 2015 are reported by the values from Tanzanian imports from Kenya. This is not the first-order preferred situation, but it is the only alternative.
There are also anomalies in the Kenya trade data: for example, in mirror data for 2013 Kenya is reported as exporting around three quarters of a million dollars’ worth of petroleum products to Zambia, with Zambia reporting a similar amount in imports. A similar trade continues to be reported in Kenyan mirror exports for 2014 and 2015, with this representing around 10% of Kenyan exports. However, inquiries to Kenyan officials and experts seems to indicate that this is petroleum in fact trade from a third country that has been brokered by a Kenyan company.
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