Ten Kenya’s largest trading partners

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019 00:00 | By
Cash. PHOTO/Courtesy

1. Turkey

Kenya imports from Turkey stood at $191.7 million (Sh19.9 billion) in 2018, according to the United Nations Comtrade database on international trade.

Most of the imports are electronics, chemicals and machinery while what Kenya offers to the world’s 17th largest economy is tea, horticulture and tourism.

In 2016, Kenya and Turkey set an ambitious target to grow their bilateral trade volume to $1 billion (Sh103.7 billion) mark in the next five years following a bilateral meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, when he visited Kenya. 

2. Uganda

Bank of Uganda (BoU) figures indicate that in the Financial Year 2017/18, Uganda had a trade surplus of $122.8 million (Sh12.7 billion) with Kenya. 

Uganda also registered a record high trade balance in the East African Community (EAC) of $413.86 million (42.8 billion).

Uganda accounted for 70 per cent of the nearly 419,548 tonnes of Kenya’s maize imports. Kampala’s imports from Kenya include edible oils, cement, steel, paper and medicine.

3. USA

Washington imports from Kenya include coffee, titanium ores and textiles which accounted for 79 per cent of the country’s total exports to America last year under a duty-free trade pact – the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Kenya is currently America’s 98th largest goods trading partner with $1billion (Sh103 billion) worth of goods traded in 2018. Goods imported from the US stood at $644 million (Sh66.6 billion).

The US goods trade deficit with Kenya was $279 million (Sh28.8 billion) in 2018.

4. Netherlands

In 2014, the volume of trade between Kenya and the Netherlands was more than € 510 million (Sh58.1 billion).

Important Dutch export products are services, chemicals, machinery, transport equipment and engines while major imports from Kenya are horticultural products, flowers, tobacco and raw materials. 

5. United Kingdom

Kenya is a regional hub for trade and finance in Eastern Africa and the natural entry point to the region and UK has established a strong footing here.

The UK is a market-based economy with liberalised foreign trade policy. There are more than 300 UK companies operating in Kenya, with bilateral trade between Kenya and the UK exceeding £1 billion (Sh139 billion).

Post-Brexit Kenya will retain tariffs on more than 130 products that are important to their exporters. Specifically of interest to Kenya, they will maintain the EU tariff on French beans and textile products.

6. China

Kenya is the first African country to be given the green light to export avocados to China. Other products exported to the Chinese market include hides, skins, coffee, tea, titanium ores and plastics.

Similarly, Kenya imports leather, rubber, machinery, transport equipment and chemicals from China.  China is squarely Kenya’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 17.2 per cent of Kenya’s total trade.

However, with exports to China totalling $167 million (Sh17.3 billion), against imports of $3.78 billion (Sh391 billion), critics have been quick to label Kenya – China trade relations as imbalanced at best.

7. India

Kenya imported goods worth $1.68 billion (Sh173.8 billion) against exports of a meagre $89.84 million (Sh9.29 billion) last year.

Kenya’s exports included inorganic chemicals and precious metals worth 23.13 million (Sh2.39 billion), pharmaceutical products worth $19.94 million (Sh2.1 billion) and edible vegetables worth $14.6 million (Sh1.5 billion).

Kenyan exports to India are largely primary commodities such as soda ash, vegetables, and tea. India and Kenya have growing trade and commercial ties. 

8. UAE

Kenyan exports to the UAE stood at Sh30 billion in 2018. Total trade between both countries stood at Sh173 billion.

This made the UAE Kenya’s fourth-largest trading partner and the largest trading partner and export destination in the Middle East.

Last year Kenya cumulatively imported goods worth $1.27 billion (Sh54 billion) from the Arab country.

9. Pakistan

Main exports to Pakistan from Kenya are coffee, tea, industrial supplies, fuel and transport equipment. Food and beverages make up 45 per cent of the total export values to Pakistan.

Main exports to Kenya from Pakistan are rice. Pakistan is the second-largest export partner destination for Kenyan goods after the UAE in Asia. Kenya averaged $522 million (Sh54 billion) worth of exports to the Asian country last year.

10. Saudi Arabia

Kenya’s exports to Saudi Arabia include tea, coffee, vegetables, textile materials, fruits, nuts and beef while major imports include oil, molasses, chemical products and paper.

In 2018, Kenya imported goods worth about $1.71 billion (Sh177 billion) from the Gulf State. Saudi Arabia has overtaken the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the leading source of Kenya’s oil imports.

According to KNBS petroleum products imports from Saudi Arabia, last year increased by 61 per cent to Sh132.6 billion, up from Sh70.4 billion in the previous year. 

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