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Rwanda: New UK Trade Scheme Rolled Out, Rwandans Set to Benefit


Food & Beverages


A preferential trade scheme where the United Kingdom will extend tariff cuts on hundreds of export items from a number of developing countries including Rwanda, has been launched. Dubbed the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), the deal was first announced in June during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that took place in Rwanda, but it was only launched on Monday, August 15. A wide range of products - from apparel and shoes to foods that are not widely produced in the UK including olive oil and tomatoes - will benefit from lower or zero tariffs, according to a statement from the UK government. "This is on top of the thousands of products which developing countries can already export to the UK duty-free [and will mean 99% of goods imported from Africa, for example will enter the UK duty free]," the statement read. The DCTS covers 65 countries across Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas including some of the poorest countries in the world. "It removes some seasonal tariffs, meaning more options for British supermarkets and shops all year round. For example, cucumbers, which can't be grown in the UK in the winter, will now be tariff-free during this period for the majority of countries in the scheme," the statement continued.


The scheme also simplifies complex trade rules such as rules of origin - the rules dictating what proportion of a product must be made in its country of origin. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK's Secretary of State for International Trade referred to the scheme as a way in which her country is taking back control of its trade policy and making decisions that back UK businesses, help with the cost of living, and support the economies of developing countries around the world. "UK businesses can look forward to less red-tape and lower costs, incentivising firms to import goods from developing countries," she said. The scheme is part of a wider push by the UK to drive a free trade, pro-growth agenda across the globe, using trade to drive prosperity and help eradicate poverty. It also includes a new initiative called Platinum Partnerships, designed to grow trade between the UK and selected lower and middle-income Commonwealth countries and reduce dependency on aid. The partnership is aimed at strengthening two-way green trade and investment, helping countries' adaptation to climate change.


Rwandans mostly export vegetables, fruits, flowers, and chili to the UK market, among other products. Speaking to The New Times, Theoneste Ntagengerwa, the spokesperson of the Private Sector Federation said that with these tariff cuts, local products will be more competitive on the UK market. "So, this is an advantage to Rwanda, but we need to have clear strategies for us to maximise the opportunity and encourage Rwandans to take advantage of it," he said. According to him, there should be accompanying policies and strategies in place, because other countries which are eligible for the same scheme are also looking for the UK market.