Give Kenyan goods preferential market access, says Uhuru

President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. PHOTO | PSCU 

Nairobi has asked Beijing to give preferential market access to Kenyan goods in a bid to narrow the gaping trade deficit between the two nations.

Kenya’s delegation, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, has called on China to lower trade barriers such as higher tariffs for her exports to the world’s largest market with a population of about 1.4 billion.

The Asian giant ranks on top of Kenya’s five-year exports growth strategy, unveiled on July 31, which seeks to expand the market for key farm produce such as tea, coffee, cut flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Past attempts to access the populous Chinese market have yielded little fruits largely because of agricultural health concerns, with Beijing raising reservations over phytosanitary standards of Kenya’s fresh produce.

"To facilitate increased exports for African agricultural products, China may consider providing technical assistance to sanitary and phytosanitary institutions in Africa to enable these countries comply with Chinese standards and other international requirements," Mr Kenyatta said in a speech to the six-day inaugural China International Import Expo which kicked off Monday in Shanghai, the country’s largest city by population.