KENYAN President, Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday asked China to cut tariffs on imports from East Africa to help in reducing growing trade imbalances between the two sides.
He made the call for preferential treatment to goods from East Africa in his keynote address at the inaugural China International Import Expo being held in Shanghai.
The Kenyan leader told Chinese President Xi Jinping that immediate measures are needed to bridge the trade gap saying that could start by reducing tariffs on specific goods so that more traders from East Africa region can benefit from the vast Chinese market of 1.4 billion people.
As the world second largest economic giant’s influence in the East African economy is deepening, Mr Kenyatta stated that it was high time the two parties worked on the nature of trade to make it more beneficial for both sides.
China may consider providing technical assistance to Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS) Institutions in Africa to enable these countries comply with Chinese SPS standards and other international requirements.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce figures, trade import and export volumes between China and countries from Africa reached 116 billion US dollars in the first seven months of 2018 - up 18.7 per cent year-on-year.
China’s exports to Africa were worth 59.36 billion USD --an increase of 8.8 per cent compared to last year --while its import volume rose by 31.3 per cent to stand at 56.81 billion USD.
Beijing has been Africa’s biggest trading partner over the last decade, and its resources have helped fuel China’s transformation into the world’s second-largest economy.
But most African nations - exporting minerals and buying Chinese manufactured goods - run large deficits with China.
We support President Kenyatta’s call for China to help in rebalancing an increasingly skewed Sino-Africa trade relationship. It is indeed true that Beijing can do more to tackle the widening trade deficit so that we can increase our trade into China.