“After a week of delicate negotiations, formal sanitary and phytosanitary agreements have been signed between Kenya and China for Kenya’s agricultural produce to enter the Chinese market,” Nzioka Waita, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Chief of Staff, said on Twitter following the Friday signing.
Other items that will also now be permitted for export include vegetables such as green beans, flowers and macadamia nuts.
Waita added that "as part of the recently signed SPS with China, technical teams from the two countries will start the process of setting inspection criteria for each product category."
The Kenyan team will be led by KEPHIS, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service. Waita said “every effort will be made to fast-track the process.”
China has become Kenya’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 17% of the East African nation’s annual trade by value, Reuters reported.
“Fruits, vegetables and flowers are already a key foreign exchange earner for Kenya, bringing in 115.3 billion shillings ($1.13 billion) in 2017 from 101.5 billion shillings a year earlier. At present, their major market is Europe,” said the publication.
A senior executive of the Standard Chartered Bank in China last month said that the Asian country could boost its imports from African nations like Kenya as a result of the trade war with the U.S.
China has given aid to Kenya in the past years in the form of funds, technology, and equipment to develop its infrastructure. This includes its most significant project, a US$3.2 billion railway linking Mombasa to Nairobi, which was opened last year.