Kyambadde calls for equal treatment of Ugandan businesspersons in China

Sunday October 20 2019

Minister of trade, industry and cooperative, Ms

Minister of trade, industry and cooperative, Ms Amelia Anne Kyambadde with a Chinese Investor during the launch of Tianjin Medical Devices Center at Bugolobi, Kampala recently. Photo by Ismail Musa Ladu  

By ISMAIL MUSA LADU

Ugandans should be given the same benefits that Chinese investors and businesspersons are entitled to while here, the minister of trade, industry and cooperative, Ms Amelia Kyambadde has said.

According to Ms Kyambadde China should reciprocate Uganda’s gesture which includes among other things generous incentives and exemptions to Chinese investors and businesspersons

Speaking during the launch of Tianjin Medical Devices Exhibition, Sales and Services Centre at Bugolobi in Kampala, Ms Kyambadde told the representative of the Chinese Ambassador who was accompanied by representative of Chinese Chambers of Business, that it is only fair when world's most populous country reciprocates economic and commercial gestures that Uganda has extended to Chinese investors and businesspeople here, saying it is good for strengthening already existing partnership and ties between the two friendly countries.       

“Ugandans should freely do business in China just the way the Chinese are freely investing here. Reciprocity is important because at the end of the day it’s a win-win for both of our countries,” she said.

“However embassies need to guide our traders and investors on the type of commodities that they should deal in. They also need to know which commodities to export and the kind of business that they should do so as to avoid losses. This guidance should be offered to both Ugandans and Chinese traders and businesses,” Ms Kyambadde added.

She said that gone are the days when aid instead of trade was the mantra, adding that the way to go now is trade rather than aid. She said that’s how Uganda and developing countries can deal with poverty. 

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Exports

Chinese imports continues to overwhelmingly exceed Uganda’s exports to China.  The number of Chinese investors in the country is also much higher than Ugandans with businesses in China. According to last year sector review report, volumes of exports increased by 7 per cent , to $ 2,890.86 million from the previous Financial Year of $ 2.7 million; as compared to imports that increased by 16 per cent, to $ 5.5 per cent  million from the previous Financial Year of $ 4.7 million; in the same period.

The individual countries with which Uganda had high trade deficits in 2017/18 were: China amounting to $ 854 million (representing 32 of the deficit) followed by India, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Japan

Therefore, the above five countries were responsible for approximately 80 per cent of Uganda’s trade deficit, with China leading the table.

Relief

China has agreed to over 400 commodities from Uganda to access its markets on a preferential arrangement.

“We commend the spirit because this will allow many of our agricultural products to access Chinese market. Importantly more Chinese companies are coming to Uganda purposely to do value addition instead of just Trading and this is good for our economy,” Ms Kyambadde said.

Challenges

Ms Kyambadde was not shy to mention that challenges such as bureaucracy and corruption are still bedevilling the system, saying efforts to fight are ongoing. 

Utility

The COMESA trading bloc remained the main destination for Uganda’s formal exports with the share in total export earnings of 51 percent ($ 1,483.72 million) in 2017/18, showing an increase of 17 per cent from $ 1.3million in 2016/17; of which Kenya and South Sudan constituted 63 percent ($939 million) of the Uganda-COMESA export earnings.

The EU market ranked the second main destination for Uganda’s goods and services with 19 per cent (US$ 568.96 million) of total formal exports in 2017/18, posting a 12 per cent increase from 2016/17 value of $ 506.83 million.

The Middle East bloc followed accounting for 14 per cent ($ 414.06 million) of the total market share in 2017/18, as compared to 18 per cent ($ 504.71 million) the previous year; and of which United Arab Emirates contributed 92 per cent ($ 382.46 million) of the Uganda-Middle East exports in 2017/1018.  Asia; Rest of Africa; Rest of Europe; The Americas, group categories followed in that respective order.

iladu@ug.nationmedia.com

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