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Kenya rejects China-EAC trade pact

Kenya will not sign a free trade agreement that China has been negotiating with the East African Community (EAC) partner States since 2016, Trade principal secretary Chris Kiptoo has said.

Mr Kiptoo Monday said the decision, which could trigger diplomatic unease between Nairobi and Beijing, is intended to protect Kenya’s nascent manufacturing sector from being over-run by China’s cheaper and more efficient producers.

The current trade balance is skewed heavily in favour of China, and the proposed comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) would see Chinese goods access the EAC market at more favourable tariffs.

“China already accounts for 25 per cent of Kenya’s import bill under the current common external tariff structure of zero per cent, 10 per cent and 25 per cent for raw materials, intermediate goods and final goods respectively. “This means that China is likely to get even a larger share of Kenya’s market once we enter into a free trade arrangement,” said Mr Kiptoo.

Read more at Business Daily (Bonface Otieno)

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