Kenya am­bas­sador calls for in­creas­ing bi­lat­eral trade to $1b

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Prof. Julius Ki­bet Bitkok, High Com­mis­sioner of Kenya to Pak­istan said on Mon­day that cur­rent vol­ume of bi­lat­eral trade be­tween Kenya and Pak­istan was US$ 600 mil­lion while it could be taken to US$ 1 bil­lion by the ag­gres­sive ef­forts of busi­ness­men of both coun­tries.

The am­bas­sador stated this while ad­dress­ing busi­ness com­mu­nity at Is­lam­abad Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try. The Com­mis­sioner Coun­selor of Kenya was also present at the oc­ca­sion. Prof. Julius Ki­bet Bitkok said that Pak­istani rice was meet­ing 70% mar­ket needs of Kenya while Kenyan tea was meet­ing 70% needs of Pak­istani mar­ket. How­ever, he said both coun­tries should fo­cus on di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of bi­lat­eral trade.

He said Kenya was in­ter­ested in many Pak­istani prod­ucts in­clud­ing phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, sur­gi­cal in­stru­ments, farm ma­chin­ery and sports goods. Sim­i­larly, he said that Kenya could ex­port its leather prod­ucts, flow­ers and many other goods to Pak­istan. The High Com­mis­sioner said that Kenya was a gate­way for Pak­istan to reach East and Cen­tral African mar­ket of 150 mil­lion peo­ple.

He said Com­merce Min­is­ter of Kenya would visit Pak­istan in Au­gust this year to take part in Joint Min­is­te­rial Com­mis­sion ne­go­ti­a­tions and asked the busi­ness com­mu­nity of Pak­istan to pre­pare a draft of pref­er­en­tial trade agree­ment which could be dis­cussed dur­ing the JMC.

About tar­iffs hike on Pak­istani rice in Kenya, he said the de­ci­sion was taken on the pres­sure of East­ern African block, how­ever, he said this is­sue could be ne­go­ti­ated dur­ing the JMC to ar­rive at a fa­vor­able tar­iff for Pak­istani rice.

He said ICCI should plan a trade mis­sion for Kenya to ex­plore po­ten­tial ar­eas of trade pro­mo­tion and High Com­mis­sion of Kenya would or­ga­nize its meet­ings with rel­e­vant govern­ment of­fi­cials and other stake­hold­ers.

In his ad­dress of wel­come, Atif Ikram Sheikh, Pres­i­dent, Is­lam­abad Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try urged for evolv­ing a new im­prove bi­lat­eral trade.

He said many Pak­istani prod­ucts in­clud­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles, food prod­ucts, sur­gi­cal in­stru­ments, medicines, tex­tiles, IT, en­gi­neer­ing and sports goods, auto parts and con­struc­tion ma­te­rial could meet the needs of Kenyan con­sumers at af­ford­able cost.

He said Kenya should re­view its high tar­iffs on Pak­istani rice. He said Kenya was a mem­ber of East­ern African Com­mu­nity (EAC) and Com­mon Mar­ket for East­ern and South­ern Africa re­gion (COMESA).

Thus in­creased co­op­er­a­tion be­tween two coun­tries would open up new op­por­tu­ni­ties of pro­mot­ing trade as Pak­istan could get greater ac­cess to Africa through Kenya and Kenya could get easy ac­cess to South Asia and other re­gional mar­kets through Pak­istan.

He said Kenya should sign a pref­er­en­tial trade agree­ment with Pak­istan lead­ing to free trade agree­ment that would give sig­nif­i­cant boost to bi­lat­eral trade.

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