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State wants Parliament to fast-track passage of trade Bills that make Kenya competitive

The State has appealed to Parliament to pass the Trade Remedies Bill, the Legal Metrology Bill and The Trade Development Bill that had been formulated to address challenges that undermine the growth of manufacturing sector, internal and external trade.

The Principal Secretary for Trade Dr Chris Kiptoo asked MPs to pass the three Bills before Parliament dissolves to save local infant industries from collapse as a result of stiff competitions from heavily subsidised imported goods.

In a speech read on his behalf by Senior Deputy Secretary in the Ministry Samson Wangusi during a sensitisation workshop for Parliamentary Committee members on Finance, Planning and Trade, the PS said Kenya can no longer continue to be a perpetual dumping ground for cheap substandard goods.

He decried that some investors had relocated to South Africa and Egypt in the face of stiff competition from imported goods as a result of unfair trade practices. “These are the only two countries in Africa with trade remedies that check against unfair trade practices, and Kenya could become the third country,” said the PS.

Dr Kiptoo disclosed that Kenya can generate additional Sh30 billion to the Gross Domestic Product by producing consumer goods that compete with imports in key local industries.

He however cautioned that this will not be possible unless the country moved faster to level the playing field. This, he noted will be done by checking unfair trade practices that undermine local industries and make Kenya dependent on imported goods.

He said specific strategies will involve restructuring industries that use local raw materials but lack competitive edge, and exploiting opportunities in adding value to imports that can be be re-exported for maximum profits.

“We have to instill confidence in the consumer that local products are as good as imported ones in terms of value for money and quality,” he said

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