It's unfair to close China Square shop

In Summary

• The Trade CS closed the China Square supermarket saying that Kenya needs Chinese manufacturers, not traders

• Small traders in Kenya have been complaining that they are being undercut by Chinese traders

Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria was wrong to order the closure of the China Square supermarket. He allegedly said that Kenya only needed Chinese manufacturers, not Chinese traders.

There are many other Chinese-owned shops in Kenya selling textiles, tiles, motorbikes and other goods. Must all these Chinese shops close down as well? If not, isn't it unfair to pick on China Square only?

And what about shops owned by Turks, Yemenis, Japanese, Europeans, Indians and others? Will they also have to close down as well? Or is it only the Chinese that are being discriminated against?

The truth is that Kenyans, especially before Covid, were flying to China and importing goods on their own account. China Square has merely undercut them by buying and selling Chinese goods in bulk (which any Kenyan could do as well). Closing China Square will not boost Kenyan manufacturing.

Kuria seems to want to embrace protectionism, a long-discarded economic philosophy which benefits a few at the expense of the masses. Protectionism will only make Kenya more expensive and less competitive.

Let China Square reopen and let Kenyans compete in the global marketplace.

Quote of the day: "Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art."

Frédéric Chopin
The Polish pianist was born on March 1, 1810

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