Kenya, Iran yet to sign trade pact

August 13, 2008

, NAIROBI, August 13 – The Iranian government has said that it is still awaiting Kenya’s response on the need to sign a trade agreement between the two countries.

Commercial Attaché at the Iranian Embassy Abbas Sadreddini said Kenya had not made known its decision on the proposal to establish a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries.

The proposal, he said had been made in 2007 during the fourth session of the commission between Kenya and Iran in Tehran.

He said Wednesday that if signed, trade between the two governments would be increased and bilateral ties strengthened.

“I’m optimistic that we will sign that agreement,” he expressed.

When the draft is signed, the PTA agreement will replace the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the two governments in 1988.

Kenya has several MOUs with Iran including one for sports, expansion of housing and urban development.

The fifth session of the commission is currently underway in Nairobi.

The three-day conference, which opened on Tuesday and attended by delegations from the two countries, is holding discussions on among other areas on livestock, agriculture and energy.

Sadreddini said the two parties had approved the final draft which contained the setting of a tractor factory, an assembly plant for motor bikes and the exportation of tea to Iran.

He said the Iranian government was also interested in establishing a cement factory and a tannery in Kenya.

They would be looking at exporting medicine, which they offer at competitive price.

“We would also be interested in opening a subsidiary of one of our banks,” Sadreddini he added.

It is estimated that trade between these two countries in 2006 stood at about US $10 million.

Most of the Kenyan tea that is exported to Iran is sold through the black market Iran brings in tractors.

On Tuesday, the two countries signed an agreement to have Iran import meat and tea from Kenya.

He was however non-committal on whether Kenya had expressed interest in purchasing oil and related products from Iran.

The official said trade fairs between Kenya and Iran would be enhanced so as to provide a forum where the two parties can display its products as a way of bolstering trade between them.

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