Chinese President Vows to Correct Trade Imbalance With Kenya

(Bloomberg) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping gave “a firm assurance” that his nation will correct a trade imbalance with Kenya during talks with his counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenyan presidency said.

China is hosting a trade show in Shanghai for companies from more than 130 countries, including Kenyan traders and horticultural farmers, the presidency said in a statement emailed Sunday from the capital, Nairobi. China is using the fair to showcase its willingness to open its market to other nations, according to the statement.

Kenya will halt Chinese tilapia imports from Jan. 1 that it says are undercutting domestic production, the Nairobi-based Daily Nation newspaper said Oct. 31, citing its Fisheries Service. The ban amounts to a “trade war” and China may respond in a manner similar to its reaction when U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese goods, the newspaper quoted Ambassador Li Xuhang as saying.

China is Kenya’s biggest trading partner, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The East African nation’s exports to China amounted to $167 million, while imports were $3.78 billion. The Asian nation accounted for 17.2 percent of Kenya’s trade with the world, the Kenyan president’s office said.

Kenyatta asked China to give African goods preferential access similar to trade deals with Europe and the U.S. and to support the continent’s producers to meet its sanitary and phytosanitary standards, according to the presidency.

Many African nations have duty- and quota-free access to the U.S. through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, and so-called Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union.

“Africa needs a reduction, or an elimination of tariffs,” if exports into mainland China are to increase, Kenyatta said in a speech at the fair.

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