Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked China to give preferential treatment for goods coming from Africa by reducing tariffs on certain goods originating from the continent.
He said this would help reduce the current trade imbalance which is titled in favour of China.
Kenyatta made the remarks in Shanghai on Tuesday during the inaugural China International Import expo.
Thousands of traders are exhibiting at the expo hoping to catch the interest of the vast Chinese market.
Kenyatta accompanied at least 100 Kenyan business people drawn from the services, food and agricultural sectors with the aim of bagging favourable deals.
China is currently Kenya’s number one trading partner accounting for 17.2% of total trade with the world, which is equivalent to $4 billion.
“This trade is however skewed in favour of China it is therefore important for us to correct the existing trade imbalance to enable a fair share of the benefit of trade.”
“For this season Kenya and indeed Africa welcomes this expo as an important step in closing the gap of this imbalance.”
The high imports from China are linked to on-going infrastructural projects in country including the Standard Gauge Railway, as well electronics, household goods and steel.
China’s President Xi Jinping called on Africa to take advantage of the huge Chinese market.
“China is the world’s second largest biggest economy, with a market of 1.3 billion consumers.”
Back home in Kenya, there is scepticism over relations between Africa and China.
Despite the clear jitters among ordinary citizens, China has currently surpassed the US to become Africa’s largest trading partner.