The Standard | 12 April 2021
Kenya, Pakistan to review trade agreements
By Titus Too
The governments of Kenya and Pakistan are in high-level discussion to review the bilateral trade agreement of 1983 to harmonise business levels between the two states.
The talks are geared towards harmonising tariffs and diversifying products traded between the two countries as they aim to hit one billion dollars annually.
It comes as Kenya’s tea exports to Pakistan recorded a growth of 19 per cent from 14.1 million kilograms by February 2020 to 16.7 kilograms by February 2021.
According to Dr Julius Bittok, Kenya’s ambassador to Pakistan, the two states are set to review their bilateral trade agreement to increase and sustain trade and investment as well as diversify products traded.
“The countries have enjoyed good trade in tea and rice. We seek to diversify into new products aimed at boosting volumes and exchange rate earnings between our countries,” Dr Bittok told The Standard.
He noted that with the dynamics in technologies, the states want to venture into new concepts that will reduce barriers, ease trade and make it more seamless.
He said despite the adverse global impact of Covid 19, Kenya and Pakistan trade in tea performed well recording a 19 per cent improvement compared to last year.
“We have done very well in tea and rice. We now want to explore the exchange of other products to build our economies. We seek to exploit the good market for cut flowers, green grams, avocado among other horticultural products,” said Bittok.
The envoy also added that Pakistan has good opportunities for Kenya to exploit technology.
“We eye pharmaceuticals, technology transfers, machinery in Agriculture to boost irrigation, construction sector through cottage industries and affordable building materials for the construction sector. Our country’s big four agenda is mirrored in Pakistan products,” he said.
He revealed that a virtual meeting bringing together his Pakistan counterpart in Kenya Amb Saqlain Syeda, Kenya’s Trade Permanent Secretary and Pakistan Commerce counterpart was held at the end of last week as part of negotiations in reviewing the agreements.
“We are in negotiations to ensure our goods are accorded market opportunities without restrictions. We want our trade to be reflected in current trade agreements and be aligned to East African Community (EAC), Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) and recently signed Africa Continental Free Trade regulations to ensure Kenya and Pakistan business thrives,” added Bittok.
“Our collaboration is very good and our negotiations seek to have better tariffs and duties on products exchanged by the two nations,” he stated.