Your Excellency, Mr. Zheng Zhu Qiang, the Chinese ambassador,Government officials, The Business Community of China and Uganda, Members of the Media Fraternity, Ladies and Gentlemen

I take this opportunity to welcome you to the second breakfast meeting with the Chinese business community in Uganda. The First one was held sometime back in 2015.

This forum is an initiative of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives whose main aim is to provide an opportunity for the Government MDAs and the Chinese Business Community in Uganda to interface so as to enhance trade and Investment and further strengthen the cordial relationship between the two countries.

Your Excellency the Ambassador, and all invited Guests, the this meeting is to enable us come together with a share purpose of achieving in particular the following:

  1. Inform the Chinese business community about measures being undertaken by Government to improve the doing business environment in the country;
  2. Provide an opportunity for the Chinese business community to raise issues and challenges faced in doing business in Uganda.
  3. Respond to the challenges and concerns of the Chinese business community in Uganda
  4. Explore concrete ways on how to create harmonious business environment for both local and foreign investors in the country

Bilateral Relations between Uganda and China

Uganda cherishes the cordial relationship with China and applauds the Chinese Government for its contribution to the social economic transformation of Uganda in the areas of infrastructure development especially road construction, hospitals, power generation and communication development. We also appreciate the technical assistance cooperation especially through education of Ugandans in China.

Government also recognizes the role of the Chinese Private investments in our effort to industrialize the country and attain a middle income status by 2020.

Trade between Uganda and China

China has been our major trading partner and ranks second in the sourcing of imports for Uganda.

Imports from China have been on the increase; imports values increased from USD 622m recorded in 2013 to USD 740m for 2014 to USD 875m for 2015 to USD 886m in 2016.

On the other hand, exports to China have been lower and slower in growth. Uganda’s exports to China for 2013 were USD 38m, 2014 amounted to USD 66m, 2015 were USD 57.7m while for 2016 were USD 27m translating into the high trade deficit.

Major commodities imported from China are: reception apparatus, vehicles, telecommunication equipment, worn clothing, iron and steel products and beverages, spirits and vinegar

Uganda’s main exports to China include sesame, coffee, raw hides and skins, fish and crustaceans, cereals, cocoa cotton, oil seeds, fruits and vegetables and in minimal volumes – less than USD 70m as compared to imports of over USD 600m.

The major reason for the huge trade disparity is on account of Uganda exporting are mostly bulky, low value raw materials with minimum value addition, while we import high value products from China.

How can this forum help us to address the trade imbalance with China?

The surest response to this question would be enhancing export of value added product, and well as exploring opportunities for increasing export of services.

We also expect that the Chinese Business communities here should not only engage in importation, but also explore how to add value of the many local resources and export to China.  Be our ambassadors in China, and bring more investors, I mean real investors to engage in export oriented investment. 

 the Government of Uganda and the Ugandan Business community seeks strategic partnerships with the Chinese Government and Chinese business people.

Despite the current trade deficit experienced by Uganda, I am optimistic that this Forum and other initiatives will promote trade and investment between the two Countries.

Investment opportunities

Uganda has enormous opportunities in commercial agriculture and agro-processing, an area in which it has comparative advantage in the region. The other areas include tourism, oil and gas, mineral extraction, infrastructure development especially roads, energy and ICT, construction and operation of warehouses and silos, and packaging subsector.

Business environment

The Government of Uganda is committed to improving the business environment by, among others:

  • Putting in place enabling policies and laws;
  • Development of socio-economic infrastructure e.g. roads, energy and ICT;
  • Developing the standards and quality infrastructure, including harmonization of regional standards;
  • Elimination of NTBs;
  • Enhancing access to regional markets;
  • Reducing bureaucratic red tape for investors;
  • Strengthening the capacity of District Commercial Offices to provide trade and investment information and outreach services in their respective Districts;
  • Simplification of the Rules of Origin;
  • Promotion of public-private partnership; and
  • The fight against corruption.

Your Excellency, we have invited all the key Government MDAs, including MoFPED, MoFA, MAAIF, MOJCA, MEMD, MoWT, Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities,   Directorate of Immigration, UIA, URA, URSB, UNBS, UIRI, UEPB, UDC, UTB, UFZA, UWRSA, KACITA and  TEXDA. The apex bodies of the Uganda Private Sector are represented, e.g. PSFU and UMA. They will respond to any questions and concerns you may wish to raise.

Your Excellency, the Uganda Government and Ugandan business people wish to draw the attention of your Government and business people to the following concerns:

  1. Involvement of Chinese business people in retail/wholesale trade.

Our take is that Chinese business people concentrate on setting up manufacturing plants while retail/wholesale trade is left to the Ugandan business people.This will help stimulate production, create employment and wealth our population hence improving on the standard of living of our people. Government pledges its commitment in providing the necessary regulatory framework to protect Chinese manufacturers from any unfair competition that may threaten the survival/existence of their establishments.

  1. Dollarization of rent payment.

There is a serious outcry from the Ugandan business people, especially in Kampala city, regarding payment of rent in dollars. This has repulsed most local business people from accessing rentable premises in the city and other major towns. It is claimed that Chinese business people are the ones instigating landlords and this is likely to create misunderstanding between the business people of the two sister countries.

  1. Contract farming

Government of Uganda wishes to encourage  contract farming between Chinese companies and Ugandan farmers involved in the production of agricultural products such as; sesame, cotton, sunflower and soybean so as to boost quality and quantity of such products.

I am optimistic that through our discussions and networking, we will make resolutions whose implementation will help us create a conducive trade and investment environment and promote mutually beneficial relations between Uganda and China.

The Government is fully committed to ensuring the implementation of this forum’s resolutions and recommendations.

Your Excellency the Ambassador,

Uganda looks forward to attracting more Chinese investors into the country to enhance production and value addition targeted at boosting export capacity in the various sectors. We need to work together to promote our bilateral economic relations. I pledge my Ministry’s commitment to further improving the business environment and enhancing our trade relations with China.

Finally, I thank the Chinese Business Association in Uganda for sponsoring this important breakfast meeting.

I thank you for listening to me.

For God and my Country

 

Uganda is one of the 51 countries set to benefit from UGX 76.68 billion (USD$21.3 million) grant that the United Kingdom has pledged towards the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), an innovative global trade programme that brings together partners and resources to support Lest Developed Countries in using trade for poverty reduction, inclusive growth and sustainable development.

UK made the announcement during a meeting for the Enhanced Integrated Framework on the sidelines of the ongoing 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Announcing the commitment on 12th December 2017 in Buenos Aires, the Minister of State for Trade Policy, Department for International Trade, UK Greg Hands said trade and economic development is clearly the most effective way for countries to create investment and jobs.

"I’m delighted that the UK’s generous support to the Enhanced Integrated Framework will help the world’s poorest countries trade out of poverty,” said Greg Hands.

The funds from UK will help the least developed countries (LDCs) like Uganda to develop the tools, skills and economic capacity they need to become competitive in targeting new markets for their goods and services. Least Developed Countries account for 13 percent of the world’s population, but engage in less than one percent of global trade.

Speaking during the meeting, the WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo cited EIF’s progress with helping LDCs improve production and create jobs by producing spices, mangoes, honey, textiles and other products.

“The EIF does vital work and has made a real impact on the ground,” the WTO Director General said. “But we are starting from a low base here. There is still a huge amount to be done. We are particularly grateful for the UK's commitment at this time. We see it as recognition that EIF and the countries it partners with are indeed on the right path."

EIF Executive Director Ratnakar Adhikari said the funding commitments and pledges made at the Ministerial Conference and in the coming year will help LDCs ready themselves for paradigm shifts in the global economic system, including the growing trend in E-Commerce. EIF’s work so far has provided the world with success stories, Adhikari added, “But this does not mean that the work is done. Rather, it is a reminder of how important this work is—and how much more focus it deserves.”

Trade Minister and leader of Uganda´s delegation in the WTO MC11 in Argentina Amelia Kyambadde says the grant will help Uganda to further mainstream trade, address the supply side challenges and build the capacity to gain entry into the global trading system.

The EIF has been funding Uganda since 2008 with most of the funds injected in the mainstreaming trade at the grassroots through the District Commercial Services Project that was implemented by the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC) since 2012. The project sought to arm District Commercial Officers (DCOs) with skills and tools to promote and grow businesses at the grass root.

“DICOSS focused on trade, tourism, industry and cooperatives sectors and the ability of both the GOU and the Local Governments to deliver these services at the grassroots level with DICOSS as the focal individuals to drive this agenda” explained Kyambadde.

DICOSS has built the capacity of DCOs from 25 districts through redefining their functions, equipping them, building skills in them; and facilitating and improving their links with the Ministry, other government agencies and lower local governments, and the public.

“Because of the success of the DICOSS Project, Government has rolled out the Conditional Grant to all Local Governments to promote commercial services at the grassroots”, explained Kyambadde.

This Financial year 2017/2018, the EIF has extended a grant of USD 300,000 (Shs.1.1billion) to implement phase 2 of the Trade Capacity Enhancement Project (TRACE) in the Ministry of Trade.

 

END.

 

 

Remove NTBS that deny African countries market access opportunities, Kyambadde asks the UK

Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde has assured the United Kingdom of continued trade relations despite the UK­­s decision to exit the European Union. Kyambadde revealed this during the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium organised by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) on the sidelines of the ongoing 11th WTO Ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The symposium organized under the theme “Getting the future Africa-UK trade partnership right” was premised on the significant implications for Britain’s trade policy relationship with Africa following UK’s decision to exit the European Union. The symposium discussed the opportunities and challenges Brexit presents for African countries.

On 29th March 2017, UK triggered Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty which formally started its process of exiting the EU. The UK is currently on the move to establish the foundations of a strong and mutually beneficial long-term relationship that will provide continuity in the trade relationship between her and Africa.

Speaking during the symposium, Minister Kyambadde noted that just like many African countries, Uganda has a long relationship with the UK and would like to explore the huge untapped trade potential between the two countries. She said the bilateral trade between Uganda and UK demonstrates that there is a huge potential for Africa to increase its trade with the UK.

Uganda’s exports to the UK have tremendously dwindled from USD 58 million in 2012 to USD 16.5 million in 2016 while the imports have also reduced from USD 127 million in 2012 to USD 74.4 million in 2016.

Kyambadde attributed the decline in trade to the shift of trade to the Middle East and Asia, the shift in domestic policies from the export of raw commodities to value addition that the UK market has not yet fully adjusted to, increasing oil prices after the Arab spring and the uncertainty about the Brexit processes.

A panelist at the symposium and Economic Adviser on International Trade at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London Brendan Vickers said the immediate priority is to ensure at a minimum that existing market access is retained for all African countries following Brexit.

Vickers said the UK’s new trade policy offers an unprecedented opportunity to introduce a more comprehensive partnership framework that is more effective in supporting Africa’s integration, industrialization and development agendas and urged African countries to take advantage of this opportunity.

However, minister Kyambadde cautioned that the new policy after Brexit should not roll back the gains African countries like Uganda already had with UK while it was in EU and should have commercially meaningful duty free Quota free market access, at least for all Least Developed Countries.

Kyambadde added that the policy should include all products of export interest to African countries.

“The policy should be demand driven rather than supply driven and the list of the products to enjoy preference in whatever scheme UK comes up with should come from us”, explained Kyambadde.

She advised that the Africa- UK trade relationship after Brexit should encourage and support industrialisation and value addition. It must move Africa away from donation of value when our products are exported raw with little or no value addition. She added that the scheme should ensure that rules of origin and simple and not unnecessarily stringent.

“The future Africa trade relations should include a strong commitment to remove Non Tariff Barriers (NTBS) that deny African countries the opportunity to benefit from preferential market access opportunities”, said Kyambadde.

Nigeria’s Chief Negotiator in the WTO Osakwe Chiedu who was also a panellist agreed with minister Kyambadde and said the UK should put in mind that Africa is now working towards a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA)

On the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) that EAC is negotiating with the EU, Kyambadde suggested that the two parties consider a negotiated trade arrangement that goes beyond the few challenges we had with EPAs. She said despite the Brexit, Uganda is still committed to sign the EPAs but is still negotiating with other member States so that EAC signs as a bloc.

END

 

The 11th WTO Ministerial Conference  was officially opened with a call from leaders from South America for inclusiveness and equality, and more efficiency of the multilateral trading system. The conference was taking place at Hilton Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 10th to 14th December 2017. Uganda delegation was led by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Hon. Amelia Kyambadde. Uganda's interests in the WTO negotiations are centered around agriculture, cotton, Non Agricultural market access, Trade in Services and Trade Related aspects of intellectual property rights.

Kyambadde assures UK of continued trade partnership despite Brexit

Uganda to benefit from USD$21.3 million grant from UK to promote trade

Ministers Statement on 11th WTO Ministerial Conference

 

Sugar Millers under their umbrella association the Uganda Sugar Millers Association have denied allegations of hording sugar so as to sell it at higher prices. This was during a meeting with the Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde on Tuesday 5th December 2017 at the Ministry offices in Kampala.

Kyambadde summoned the sugar millers after MPs vowed to table a motion on the floor of Parliament over the continuous high sugar prices. The Minister tasked the millers including Kakira Sugar, Kinyara, Lugazi Sugar and others to explain why sugar prices are still high yet they claim they have enough stock.

The millers led by their chairperson Mwine Jim Kabeho told the Minister that sugar prices are not controlled by sugar millers but it’s totally in the hands of wholesalers and retailers. They said factory prices have reduced from shs.198,000 per bag in June 2017 to the current shs.170,000 leading to retail prices going down to shs.4,000 and below in some areas.

“The recommended retail price by the millers is shs.3600 and some areas shs.3400, therefore on average retail prices should not go beyond shs.4,000 for premium or packed sugar”, explained Kabeho

 Uganda Export Promotion Board Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority Management Training and Advisory Centre Uganda National Bureau of Standards Uganda Industrial Research Institute