EXPORT LICENSING IN KENYA

In a bid to streamline export procedure in Kenya, the Licensing Laws (Repeals and Amendment) Act 2006 was enacted. The Act abolished previous licenses requirements e.g. general export licenses that were found to discourage business in Kenya. Notably, the government still imposes licensing control over a few products. The control is necessitated by varying interests including the need to protect the public interest, and conserve natural resources.

There are product specific permits and certificates required. For instance, export and import of energy and telecommunication require the special permits and certificates. The relevant regulatory framework is as given by the industry specific statutes regulating the products/services.

In the regional arena, import and export regulations exist for members of the East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). The rates of import duty from outside the East African Community but within COMESA will depend on the extent to which such member of COMESA has agreed to reduced tariffs under the COMESA Treaty. 

By way of additional control certain goods are subject to custom duty. The sources of customs law in Kenya include the East African Customs Management Act (EACCMA) and Regulations, the Treaty establishing the East African Community, the Protocol establishing the East African Customs Union, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement and various instruments of the World Customs Organization.

Generally, under the customs laws in Kenya, all goods are subject to customs duties but there are certain exemptions to this. The duty rates are as per the East African Community Common External Tariff (EACCET) at the time of importation. It is a requirement that all goods must be imported through authorized entry points. On arrival all cargo unloaded must be declared to customs within 21 days of discharge, failure to which the goods are deemed deposited in a customs warehouse and rent charged at prescribed rates. 

The applicable rate is applied on the quantity to determine the duty payable. Rates of duty for imported goods are published in the EACCET. 

Value Added Tax is charged on imports at the rate of either 0% or 16% depending on the goods unless the goods are exempt under the Value Added Tax Act.

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