President Kenyatta woos French importers, exporters in trade boost

President Kenyatta woos French importers, exporters in trade boost

President Uhuru Kenyatta has encouraged French importers to work closely with Kenyan exporters to boost Kenyan exports to France and other European countries.

The President said the move would eliminate hurdles that have prevented Kenyan products – mainly agricultural products – from accessing the French market, adding that it would also help bridge the balance of trade which is currently tilted in favour of France.

“We are keen on deepening the trade and investment partnership between our countries. Increased presence of French importers in Kenya is one way of ensuring that French people buy and consume more and more of Kenyan goods,” President Kenyatta said.

The Head of State spoke on Monday in Paris, France, during a meeting with French importers led by Pierre Layani, the Chairman of Rungis International Market, the world’s largest wholesale market for fresh produce.

President Kenyatta also urged French investors to work with their Kenyan counterparts in the value addition of Kenyan agricultural products to facilitate production of finished quality goods that will meet international standards.

“This way we will increase the quality and quantity of Kenyan exports while at the same time benefiting the Kenyan farmer,” President Kenyatta said.

He said increased access of Kenyan goods to the French market would also help in creation of jobs for the Kenyan youth.

Mr. Layani assured President Kenyatta of his organisation’s readiness to work with Kenyan exporters to promote direct entry of more Kenyan goods in the French market.

He called for diversification of Kenyan export goods, saying following the meeting with President Kenyatta, his organisation has embarked on steps that will deepen the existing partnership between Kenyan exporters and French importers.

The meeting – which was also attended by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Rungi International Market Secretary General Francis Lefevre – underscored the need to scale up the partnership between Kenyan importers and French exporters.

In 2014, Kenyan exports to France were over Ksh 8.2 billion while imports from France were valued at Ksh 16.4 billion. This yielded a trade balance of over Ksh 8.2 billion in favour of France. Close to 95 per cent of France’s imports from Kenya are agricultural products.  These include unprocessed green beans, as well as avocados, tropical fruits (mangoes, passion), tea and coffee.

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