NAIROBI, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Kenya and China signed an agreement on Friday allowing the East African country to export various agricultural products to China, a senior Kenyan government official said.
Nzioka Waita, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Chief of Staff, said the agreement on food, plant and animal safety – known as sanitary and phytosanitary measures – had been reached between the two after a week of negotiations.
Waita said on Twitter the agreement would pave the way for Kenya to start exporting a selection of fruit and vegetables, flowers and meat to China.
China has become Kenya’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 17 percent of the East African nation’s annual trade by value or more than $4 billion, heavily tilted in China’s favour.
Fruits, vegetables and flowers are already a key foreign exchange earner for Kenya, bringing in 115.3 billion shillings ($1.13 billion) in 2017 from 101.5 billion shillings a year earlier. At present, their major market is Europe.
Like other African nations, Kenya has turned to China over the past few years for funds, technology and equipment to develop its infrastructure, including its biggest project since independence, a $3.2 billion railway linking Mombasa to Nairobi, which was opened last year.
A senior executive of Standard Chartered Bank in China told Reuters last month that the Asian economic powerhouse could boost its imports from African nations like Kenya in the wake of a trade war with the United States.
($1 = 102.1500 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Duncan Miriri and Mark Potter)