BEIJING, China, Apr 24 – The Chinese government has warned local companies against dumping cheap and low-quality products in the African market, with officials saying the trend is denting the country’s image and relations with developing countries, including Kenya.
“It is an issue we are taking very, very seriously because we keep receiving these concerns from our African counterparts,” Cao Jiachang, Deputy Director General at the Commerce Ministry said, and warned of “serious sanctions against companies found culpable.”
Products affected range from electronics, including mobile phones, farm products and car parts among others.
“It is not that these companies are unable to produce or manufacture high quality products, so there’s no reason why they should not manufacture the right products that are certified as per our standards,” Cao who is based at the Ministry’s Department of West Asian and African affairs said while briefing journalists from African countries on a media tour of China.
While warning that the government has resolved to impose export sanctions on companies “denting China’s image”, Cao also called for a collaboration with African countries on product quality inspection which, he said, can only succeed if stringent measures are introduced at port sections.
“It is something we are already doing on our part… by inspecting factories and what they produce but unless the same is done at the local countries level, we will not achieve it.”
In Kenya, there have been serious concerns of low-quality products both at the retail and wholesale market, with consumers exploited to pay for their original prices, yet some are imitations.
Chinese government officials blame this on local vendors from Kenya and other African markets who place orders on specific customised products to suit their customers.
“You don’t see those low quality products here (in China) because it is the vendors who will always collaborate with the manufactures to get specific products of their choice depending on their purchase power and that of their customers,” he said, adding “and this is what we are now fighting. It should stop because it is destroying the Chinese market in Africa.”
China considers Kenya one of its largest trading partners in Africa, after last year’s export and import volume hitting Sh286.9billion, and is worried further growth may be affected unless the trend of unscrupulous manufacturers and traders exporting low-quality products to the East African economic power house is not nipped.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent visit to Beijing has seen ties between the two countries lately tightened with both parties encouraging more investments in major sectors-including infrastructure, mining agriculture among others.
“We will not let unscrupulous businessmen and manufactures dent our relations,” Cao said.
China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao said his country is proud of economic development across Africa, and ‘will not be cowed by accusations from the West’.