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Kenyan exporters scouting for deals at the Shanghai trade fair

Peter Biwott
Export Promotion Council CEO Peter Biwott. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

Some 90 Kenyan exporters will be scouting for deals during the China International Import Expo (CIIE) set to take place in Shanghai, China, between today and November 10.

The fair, in its first edition, is looking to connect the world’s leading importers and to promote free trade between China and other countries across the globe.

A total of 2,800 companies from all the G20 member states as well as 50 countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative are also expected to take part in the expo, according to the China International Import Expo Bureau.

“The China International Import Expo is set to attract about 90 firms from Kenya which will be showcasing their products for six days at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre in Shanghai,” said Export Promotion Council (EPC) chief executive officer Peter Biwott.

“We are looking forward to showcase agriculture related products such as tea, flowers, coffee and nuts.

“These are areas where we have competitive advantage,” he said. China has been the leading source of Kenyan imports. Kenya exported goods worth Sh10 billion to China in 2016 but imported Sh337.4 billion worth of cargo from the Asian country, indicating a trade deficit of Sh317.4 billion.

According to leading economic indicators by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the country imported goods worth Sh175 billion from China between January to May in 2017, an average of Sh35 billion a month. If the trend continues, imports from China will hit the Sh420 billion mark a few years after they broke the Sh300 billion mark in 2015.

High imports from China are attributed to an upsurge in infrastructure projects currently going on in the country such as the construction of the standard gauge railway, which has taken the lion’s share of the purchases.

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