Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo photo:courtesy
The Government has come up with a new national trade policy document as it seeks to align diverse sector policies towards growing exports.
Through the document, developed by the State Department for Trade, the Government wants to strengthen domestic and international trade by supporting key sectors such as agriculture, industry, energy and the ‘blue economy’ – a new concept meaning the use of the sea and its resources for sustainable economic development.
In line with this, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives will host a three-day event dubbed ‘Kenya Trade Week’ at Nairobi’s Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
According to Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo, the event, themed ‘Transforming Kenya into a Competitive Export-led and Efficient Domestic Market,’ will see the launch of key documents to help support exports.
“We have had several key documents on trade, but have been operating in a disjointed manner. We shall use this forum to highlight what we have lined up to ensure that trade policies complement rather than compete with each other,” he said in an interview.
The ministry hopes that by having a single document to address various trade policies such as exchange control, liberalisation and licensing, the country can have a robust domestic trade, which would in turn help support exports.
To help grow exports, the State department wants to address all non-tariff barriers that exist between Kenya and its trade partners.
This includes solving trade differences with countries such as Tanzania.
According to Dr Kiptoo, about 60 per cent of Kenya’s exports include just 10 products because the country has not diversified its exports. These only fall in less than eight sectors.
“We want to support new exports in areas where we see potential. Currently, our exports go to just 12 countries, but we want to diversify our markets further through proper policies,” he said.
Available data shows that in Africa, Kenya only exports to six economies. The PS is optimistic that if Kenya starts producing goods that are in demand in all her trade partners, the export-import gap will narrow.
Also on the ministry’s radar is how to form a negotiations council whose members would be responsible for helping the country to negotiate favourable trade deals.