Kenya has intensified efforts for exporters to have better access to South African markets, CS Amina Mohamed has reported.
The Foreign Affairs minister further said on Thursday that the country is seeking to attract SA investors as part of a wealth generation and job creation strategy.
She spoke ahead of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s working visit to Durban, South African.
Uhuru and his counterpart Jacob Zuma discussed matters including trade, security, infrastructure development and training.
More on this: Uhuru in SA for trade, security talks with Zuma
Amina said: “Kenya's exports to South Africa face high tariffs and levies which inhibit access to the market by investors.
“Kenya’s main exports to South Africa - which include tea, soda ash, cut flowers, avocado, detergents, processed cashew and macadamia nuts - face tariffs and levies which make them noncompetitive compared to those from the South African Development Community member countries."
The Cabinet Secretary said their talks would be centred on the removal of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers and other issues of interest to both countries.
“Discussions towards elevating the Joint Commission for Cooperation between Kenya and South Africa to Special Status Agreement will be a key agenda of the visit to South Africa," she said.
"The aim is to bolster trade relations through high-level negotiations for the elimination of tariff and non-tariffs barriers between the two countries."
Amina noted "great potential" for more trade between Kenya and SA, as Kenya is one of the latter's leading partners in Africa and a major recipient of its Foreign Direct Investment.
“Kenya is the largest export market for South Africa’s products to East and Central Africa. However, trade balance is heavily in favour of South Africa, partly due to poor market access and Kenya’s reliance on the export of primary or semi-processed products, while South Africa exports high-value products."
The CS cited the recent entry into the Kenyan market by Volkswagen South Africa through the setting up of an assembly plant.
She also mentioned the decision by Development Bank of South Africa to invest in Lapsset corridor projects, as indicators of deepening ties between Kenya and SA.
Amina further noted that the two countries have made good progress in streamlining key issues including visa requirements for Kenyans travelling to SA.
“Key among these was the acceptance by South Africa to issue visas on arrival for official delegations and the Issuance of a one-off visas tenable for the duration of study in SA for Kenyan students."
Besides the talks in Durban, Uhuru will attend the 106th anniversary celebrations of the African National Congress in the city of East London as a special guest.
He will also hold talks with Cyril Ramaphosa, the newly-elected ANC president who is also the country's deputy president.