While General Motors renews its plans to increase its market share in East Africa, used imports from Japan and the Middle East are hampering its progress.

While General Motors renews its plans to increase its market share in East Africa, used imports from Japan and the Middle East are hampering its progress.

GM's president for Latin America, Africa and the Middle East Maureen Kempston Darkes said the integration of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to form the East African Community trading bloc had helped GM to gain a bigger market share in the region.

She added though that the manufacturer's operations were being hampered by the influx of used vehicles from Japan and the Middle East.

''The flood of used vehicles coming into East Africa is a threat to our ability to sustain and further develop a new vehicle industry,'' Darkes told an international news agency.

The three countries agreed to implement a customs union and abolish the anti-dumping duty on imported used vehicles, which are common among the average wage earners who are not able to afford new cars.

Critics have reportedly called the imported used vehicles a threat to the environment as well as to the continued development of the local motor industry. GM's Kenyan assembly plant has been operational since 1975 and its vehicles are exported to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and other neighbouring countries.