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Amina asks Japan to review rules on Kenya flowers

FLOWERSTOKYO, Japan, Mar 15 – Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has urged Japanese authorities to review the fumigation requirements imposed on flower exports from Kenya.

Under the present arrangement, flowers exported to Japan are required to be inspected and fumigated at the port of entry.

“This requirement has imposed extra costs on exporters which have eroded their benefits,” Mohamed said during bilateral talks with Akio Koizumi, Vice-President of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Tokyo.

She conveyed the proposal by the Flower Council of Kenya for a review of this requirement to allow for fumigation of flowers in Kenya before exportation.

Acknowledging the challenges this requirement has imposed on exporters, Koizumi called for wider consultations between all stakeholders on the way forward.

“We will consult with authorities responsible for standards and engage with the Kenya Bureau of Standards with a view to working out a way forward,” said Koizumi.

In a separate engagement, Mohamed urged Japan to consider assembling motor cycles in Kenya in order to help generate jobs and support growth of the economy.

“This will also enable Japan to meet the East African Community’s local content requirements and avoid the tariffs imposed on motor cycles,” said the Cabinet Secretary.

Speaking during bilateral talks with Daishio Yamagiwa, Japan’s State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Cabinet Secretary said the continued suspension of tariffs on motor cycles could not be guaranteed.

At the same time, Mohamed encouraged Japanese companies to participate in the development of a free port in Mombasa in order to expedite the process.

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The Cabinet secretary expressed appreciation for role JICA is playing in this regard in developing a master plan for the special economic zones in Mombasa.

“Currently, traders in the East and Central Africa region depend on the free port of Dubai for goods. This is expensive considering the distance and the travel and shipping costs involved,” said Mohamed.

“A free Port in Mombasa will therefore go a long way in reducing costs and consequently enhance intra-regional trade,” added the CS.

The Cabinet Secretary said the involvement of Japanese companies in development of the port will enable them access the huge COMESA market with a population of over 450 million people.

On the World Trade Organization (WTO) Conference to be hosted in Nairobi this year, the Cabinet Secretary reiterated the need for wide consultations in order to thrash out outstanding issues ahead of the conference in December.

“We intend to convene a mini ministerial conference ahead of the main conference to facilitate broad consensus on the deliverables of the MC10 in Nairobi. It is only in this way that we will ensure a successful Conference in December,” said Mohamed.

Urging Japan to participate in the mini ministerial, the CS said she was also reaching out to the European Union and USA whose participation is critical in reaching agreements.

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