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Kenya-Pakistan Trade & Investment conference held

KARACHI: High Commission of Kenya in Islamabad with the support of Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) has organized two-day “Kenya-Pakistan Trade & Investment Conference” at a local hotel of Karachi. 
Numbers of delegates from Kenya representing concerned Ministries of Government of Kenya, Pakistani Ministry of Commerce officials including Federal Minister of Commerce Mohammad Pervaiz Malik, officials of TDAP including Secretary TDAP Inamullah Khan, officials of Board of Investment Department of Plant Protection, office Bearers of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Pakistan Tea Association and numerous members of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) attended the event. 
Muhammad Pervaiz Malik Commerce Minister of Pakistan, Amb. Monica K Juma Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Trade, Kenya, Prof Julius K Bitok Kenyan High Commissioner, Dr Richard Lesiyambe Principal Secretary State Department-Crop Production Republic of Kenya, Muhammad Hanif Janoo Hon. Consul of Kenya in Karachi and Abdul Rahim Janoo Ex-Chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) also spoke at the event. 
On the 2nd day of conference Rafique Suleman Senior Vice Chairman REAP presented a video documentary and delivered a brief speech on rice exports to Kenya. 
While, addressing the investment conference, Rafique Suleman said that bilateral trade between both the countries is going on a good pace and we wish to make it better with joint efforts. 
He mentioned that Pakistani rice is facing many challenges in Kenya. “Our Biryani rice C-9 or Irri-9 was very famous in Kenya but suddenly Thai origin rice became dominant in Kenya and captured a good market share whereas Pakistani rice went on decline,” he added. 
He said that Pakistani rice exporters are working to arrange a good revenue for Kenya. Till 30th June, 2014, Kenya implemented a special duty tariff of 35 percent for Pakistan and 75 percent for other origins. This step was beneficial to us both as no shortage of rice was observed in Kenya. 
Even in 2008, when there was a global food crisis, all rice exporting countries imposed ban on their rice exports but Pakistan has honoured all their rice contracts and completed all orders of rice, he informed. 
On the other hand, Pakistan is the highest importer of Kenyan tea and last year when government of Pakistan imposed heavy duty on Kenyan tea, Pakistani importers approached Ministry of Commerce and succeed to reduce the import duty on Kenyan tea just to support Kenya, he added. 
“Although we had an alternate option within SAARC countries that we can import tea from India or Sri Lanka on less import duty. But still we have demonstrated our friendship with Kenya. Pakistan is the largest buyer of Kenyan tea and approximately 30 percent of Kenyan tea is exported to Pakistan,” Suleman said. 
He said that Pakistani rice exporters have faced a number of issues in Kenya but the thing is that all were resolved with dialog. 
“We have many advantages by exporting rice to Kenya as well as faced many obstacles by doing this trade, but despite that we wish to continue this trade, as Pakistani rice is very much liked by Kenyan people and it is also more competent,” he added. 
Senior Vice Chairman REAP urged Kenya to reduce the duty tariff on Pakistani rice, smuggling is increasing due to higher duty stricture, which is not beneficial for both the countries. 
“On behalf of REAP we request reduction of tariff and given special rates for Pakistani rice, so that we can increase the rice exports to Kenya,” he added. 
Further, as per WTO rules, there must be trade balance between both the countries. As per available facts and figures, value of Kenyan tea is more than Pakistani rice, he mentioned. 
Suleman said that there are lot of opportunities for investment in Pakistan, we have good and modern rice machinery and rice mills. Kenyan investors can make a joint venture with Pakistani companies. Board of Investment, TDAP and REAP also welcome Kenyan investors to work in Pakistan. 
Talking about the crop estimates, he said that Pakistan has a bumper rice crop this year. Pakistan’s annual rice crop ranges from 6.5 to 6.8 million tonnes. 
As Kenya is the largest buyer of Pakistani rice, out of total exports, Pakistan has exported some 362,000 metric tonnes of rice amounting to $133 million to Kenya. 
He proposed that Kenya Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Industry must establish a Rice Desk in their offices to facilitate Pakistan rice exporters and their problems must be resolved promptly as sometime due to sudden change of policy of Customs department, Pakistani exporters are required to rush to Kenya for urgent solution. He also highlighted issues of theft of rice bags in CFS and buyers defaulted. 
He also requested for direct flight to Kenya through Kenyan Airways or PIA. In addition, Kenyan authorities to share quarantine issues with Department of Plant Protection Pakistan to sort out any quarantine related issues. 
Suleman also briefed about the association and said that REAP is the 2nd largest export trade body of Pakistan, having members across Pakistan and contributing more than 2 billion dollars valuable foreign exchange for our beloved country Pakistan.