Kenya and Tanzania on Friday agreed to eliminate trade barriers in attempt to strengthen the trade relationship between the two East African countries.

The deal was sealed in Kisumu by Rebecca Miano, Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary, and Tanzania’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation Stephen Byabato during a meeting focused on resolving longstanding trade barriers.

The barriers have historically impeded the export of vital commodities such as tea, spirits, and timber.

Officials anticipate that the removal of the trade barriers will facilitate smoother trade between the two nations, thereby promoting economic expansion.

The eighth bilateral meeting, a continuation of the efforts to strengthen trade ties following the commitment made by President William Ruto and his Tanzanian counterpart Samia Suluhu, addressed 14 key issues.

“The objective of the meeting was to address issues that hinder trade between the two countries,” CS Miano and Minister Byabato said in a joint communique.

The officials further agreed on holistic harmonization of levies, fees, charges, and other conditions affecting trade between the two countries.

Kenya and Tanzania are members of the East African Community (EAC), which aims to promote regional integration and facilitate trade among member states.

Both countries are also part of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and other regional trade agreements, which can influence trade volumes and patterns.