Deputy President William Ruto says the ongoing 10th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference should result in a new environment where there is fairness in trade among all nations.
Mr. Ruto said there should be a win -win situation as far as issues of trade are concerned. The Deputy President said developed countries should address the concerns of developing nations on issues of subsidies and access to markets for their products.
“The meeting should hammer an agreement to give all countries a chance to participate in trade in a fair manner,” said Mr. Ruto.
Mr. Ruto said developed countries had put hurdles on the way for agricultural products from developing nations to access markets leading to a lose-win situation.
“The ongoing trade negotiations should refine those issues which have been raised to expand trade around the world and for the benefit of all the concerned parties,” said Mr. Ruto.
The Deputy President made the remarks when he held separate talks with Turkey Economic Minister Mustafa Elitas, Portugal Economy Minister Manuel Cabral and Indian High Commissioner to Kenya Suchitra Durai who called at him in his Karen office, Wednesday morning.
Mr. Ruto expressed concern that the balance of trade between Kenya and Turkey was in favour of the latter.
“Kenya exports its products to Turkey up to a tune of Sh 900million while on the other hand we import from Turkey various commodities to the tune of Sh 14billion. This shows that there is imbalance of trade,” said Mr. Ruto.
The Deputy President asked Turkey to support Kenyan companies to access its markets noting that Kenya has the best quality tea that could not access market sin Turkey.
“I am optimistic that you will do something when you go back to your country so that our tea among other products access markets in Turkey. By doing this we will ensure a win -win situation for our two countries,” said Mr. Ruto.
Mr. Elitas on his part commended Kenya for being given the opportunity to host the ongoing WTO meeting saying it would boost the country’s economic situation. He said he was confident that developed nations would address the concerns raised by developing countries on issues of subsidies and access to markets.
“It is my hope that this Nairobi meeting will come up with favourable balance of trade for all of us to benefit,” said Mr. Elitas.
Dr. Cabral said Portugal businesspeople will take advantage of the existing opportunities in the field of energy and infrastructure in Kenya.
He said plans were underway for Portugal to establish business trade office in Kenya to boost investments of people in the two countries.
“We are fast-tracking our plans to open business trade centre in Kenya to enable businesspeople from our two countries explore existing business opportunities,” said Dr. Cabral.
He said there is need for developed nations and developing ones to build bridges and ensure balance of trade is for the benefit of all nations.
“Both developed and developing countries should work towards building bridges and strengthening diplomatic ties in addressing challenges facing our people,” said Dr. Cabral.
The Deputy President urged Portugal to offer market access to Kenyan products.
“Kenyan products experienced challenges accessing Portugal markets and efforts must be made to resolve the matter,” said Mr. Ruto.
The Deputy President at the same time said Kenya and India continues to enjoy good relations for the mutual benefit of people of the two nations.
Mr. Ruto encouraged more Indian companies to invest in Kenya in order to tap the country’s potential and access its vast markets.
The Indian High Commissioner said she was hopeful that the WTO meeting would come up with favourable conditions for all nations.
“We hope this meeting will come up with new arrangement since the current situation was unbiased to some countries,” said Mrs. Durai.
She said Indian investors have a lot of interest in Kenya noting that some of them have already entered into development agreements with the Narok County, which held its investment conference two weeks ago.