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Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Kenya is currently restructuring its trade policies to consolidate the existing laws in order to eliminate differences.

The country remains committed to trade liberalization through its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the EAC (East African Community), which includes Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. With these two last ones, Kenya signed an agreement to establish a new monetary union in December 2013. Negotiations continue between the EAC and the EU to find an economic agreement. After an unsuccessful first attempt, most tariff barriers have been eliminated and customs duties are not very high. They range from 0% for raw materials, to 50% for certain products, such as matches, for example. Raw materials, capital goods, energy-saving bulbs or tractors for agriculture are exempt from customs duties. Goods imported from COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) member countries enjoy preferred tariffs. Lastly, after September 2013, a bilateral agreement links Kenya to Nigeria, which should mainly prevent double taxation.

Kenya imports more than it exports, which translates into a trade balance that is largely in deficit. Between 2012 and 2013 this deficit increased even more, exports were lower while imports escalated. The country's main trade partners are COMESA member countries, the Gulf Cooperation Council, EU, India, China and the United States.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 10,20212,09314,78216,29016,358
Exports of Goods (million USD) 4,4635,1695,7566,1275,856

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank - Last Available Data.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2010
Uganda 12.7%
United Kingdom 9.8%
Tanzania 8.1%
Netherlands 6.6%
United States 5.5%
United Arab Emirates 4.6%
Sudan 4.6%
Egypt 4.4%
Pakistan 4.4%
Somalia 3.2%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2010
China 12.6%
United Arab Emirates 12.1%
India 10.8%
South Africa 6.2%
Japan 6.1%
United Kingdom 5.2%
United States 4.1%
Saudi Arabia 3.4%
Singapore 3.3%
Indonesia 2.8%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 

Main Products

5.2 bn USD of products exported in 2010
Tea, whether or not flavoured 22.5%
Cut flowers and flower buds of a kind suitable for bouquets or for ornamental purposes, fresh, dried, dyed, bleached, impregnated or otherwise prepared 7.7%
Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated; coffee husks and skins; coffee substitutes containing coffee in any proportion 4.0%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.0%
Other vegetables, fresh or chilled (excl. potatoes, tomatoes, alliaceous vegetables, edible brassicas, lettuce lactuca sativa and chicory cichorium spp., carrots, turnips, salad beetroot, salsify, celeriac, radishes and similar edible roots, cucumbers and gherkins, and leguminous vegatables) 2.9%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 2.2%
Carbonates; peroxocarbonates percarbonates; commercial ammonium carbonate containing ammonium carbamate 1.8%
Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not coloured 1.8%
Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of tobacco or of tobacco substitutes 1.8%
Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined (excl. chemically modified) 1.6%
12.1 bn USD of products imported in 2010
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 13.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 7.6%
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 3.7%
Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined (excl. chemically modified) 3.7%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.9%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 2.6%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.2%
Flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel, of a width >= 600 mm, hot-rolled, not clad, plated or coated 2.2%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 1.9%
Wheat and meslin 1.8%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
 
 

Main Services

4.0 bn USD of services exported in 2011
Transportation
42.45%
Travel
22.58%
Government services
19.25%
Communications services
9.50%
Financial services
3.87%
Royalties and license fees
1.34%
Insurance services
0.81%
Cultural and recreational services
0.19%
Computer and information services
-%
2.1 bn USD of services imported in 2011
Transportation
49.47%
Other business services
19.31%
Travel
9.20%
Government services
8.56%
Insurance services
5.59%
Financial services
4.07%
Communications services
2.62%
Royalties and license fees
0.70%
Cultural and recreational services
0.34%
Computer and information services
0.13%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
 
Useful Resources
Customs and Excise Department
National Organization of Intellectual Property
The Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI).
 
 
 

 

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Last Updates: October 2014