KAMPALA -- Ninety-eight percent of Ugandan goods will, starting Dec 1, access the Chinese market at zero tariff, officials said here Friday.
Speaking at the public unveiling of the Special Preferential Tariff Treatment of Ugandan Exports to China, Zhang Lizhong, Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, said the expansion follows commitments made by China at the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation held in Senegal last year.
China pledged to increase the scope of products enjoying zero tariff treatment for least developed countries that have diplomatic ties with it in a bid to reach $300 billion in total imports from Africa in the next three years.
Francis Mwebesa, minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives urged the business community to take advantage of the Chinese market access.
"To export to China, it is the best market we can access, the private sector especially those in coffee should access the Chinese market," Mwebesa added.
The minister urged China to increase science and technology transfer to Uganda. He also noted that promotion of tourism should be at the forefront of the bilateral relations.
Uganda is among the 10 least-developed countries that China is granting zero-tariff treatment to 98 percent of taxable items, according to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council.
China has since 2010 been increasing the number of Ugandan goods that can access its market at tariff free. According to Uganda's ministry of trade, industries and cooperative, China in 2013 increased the zero tariff line to 95 percent from 60 percent in 2010. In 2015, the zero tariff was further increased to 97 percent.