Kenyatta to push Modi to lower trade barriers

While in Kenya, Modi is expected to facilitate talks and deals with Kenyatta and businessmen.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta will urge visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give Kenyan exports to India preferential status when they meet in Nairobi on Monday.

They two leaders are also expected to sign many agreements to boost health co-operation, investment and trade, as well as combatting counterfeit products.

Modi, who has already visited Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania, was expected to arrive in Nairobi on Sunday night on the last leg of his African tour and to meet Kenyatta on Monday.

“The prime minister’s visit offers us a chance to renew and deepen our friendship and partnership in a number of fields,” Kenyatta’s spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said at a press briefing on Sunday.

“The two heads of government will discuss a wide range of issues of mutual interest at the bilateral, continental, and multilateral levels.”

Kenya hosts at least 40 Indian companies, and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industries, together with India’s Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, have signed several deals which the Kenyan government hopes will be renewed.

Esipisu said Kenya would push to have its exports “granted preferential status by the Indian authorities”.

He said a double taxation avoidance agreement would be signed during the visit and another agreement between the Kenyan and Indian offices of standards. Several other agreements were under consideration, including a draft agreement on co-operation in health.

“Every Kenyan knows that both countries have long worked together in healthcare. We expect to make progress in formalising and deepening that co-operation for the mutual benefit of both our peoples,” said Esipisu.

Modi’s agenda in Nairobi, aside from the talks and deals with Kenyatta and businessmen, includes a meeting with India’s huge diaspora in Nairobi, which controls a huge chunk of the country’s local manufacturing and service sector.

“India’s diaspora in Kenya is an integral part of this nation. It plays a significant role in Kenya’s economy and continues to strengthen trade and cultural relations between our two countries,” said Esipisu.

Kenya’s oldest newspaper and the second-largest in circulation, The Standard, has asked the Kenyatta administration to push India to open its doors to goods from Kenya.

“The local business community will therefore have great expectations of Prime Minister Modi’s visit — the community’s larger interest will be to secure more attractive provisions to export their products to the sub-continent and ensure their imports from India are competitively priced,” the paper said.

“The Kenya government must therefore press to cater for these interests and negotiate a more agreeable balance of payment position which currently favours India,” it said.
– African News Agency (ANA)