, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 – The signing of a Memorandum of Understating for the establishment of a working group on trade tariffs next month will set the pace for Kenya’s pursuit for balanced trade with China.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma on Tuesday told Capital FM News that the pact earmarked for signing next month when President Uhuru Kenyatta leads a delegation of Kenyan farmers and traders to China will ensure a fair balance of trade is progressively attained.
“We are keen on addressing the existing trade imbalance and that is why we want to open up the Chinese market to our goods and services,” she remarked.
According to CS Juma, Kenya is among five nations set to exhibit at the 1st Shanghai Import Expo where Kenya is also set to sign a deal that will open up the Chinese market to over 40 per cent of the country’s fresh produce including avocadoes, cashewnuts, and mangoes.
The deal will also allow the exportation of Kenyan stevia, a sweetener grown in the Rift Valley.
Data recently compiled by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) showed growth in trade between Kenya and China with the volume of exports rising by 7.5 per cent to stand at Sh267 billion with imports rising 8.3 per cent to Sh761 billion between January and May this year.
The growth in trade volume between the two nations however represented a significant trade deficit of Sh494 billion, a situation that CS Juma said her ministry was working tirelessly to address.
The CS said a new integrated National Exports Development and Promotion Strategy (NEDPS) has laid down a framework that will enable the country enhance its competitiveness in the global market in order to narrow the trade deficit with other countries.
The strategy has seen the merger of the Export Promotion Council (EPC) and the Brand Kenya Board to create a Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA).
Under the new framework approved by the Cabinet last Thursday, Kenya aims at growing its exports at an average rate of 25 per cent annually.
On the diplomatic front, Juma said plans were on course to secure more endorsements for Kenya’s bid for the United Nations Security Council non-permanent membership for the 2021-2022 term.
She said the slot will afford the country an opportunity to offer leadership in ongoing peace efforts including in South Sudan.
“We feel we’ve accumulated enough experience to bring back to the Security Council having supported peace processes in Somalia, Burundi, Rwanda, and South Sudan,” the CS explained.
She was optimistic that having served in a similar portfolio in 1973-1974 and 1997-1998 and in the African Union Peace and Security Council thrice, Kenya will marshal support for the UN Security Council bid.
Kenya has so far secured endorsement from Namibia with a significant number of UN members States said to have given positive indications on the same.