A diplomatic tiff is formenting between Beijing and Nairobi after the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi asked the Kenyan government to protect legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and citizens after a prolonged silence over trade row revolving China Square closure in Juja, Kiambu County.
The embassy issued the statement a day after the Anti Counterfeit Authority (ACA) seized alleged counterfeit goods worth over Sh50million at the mall.
Through a statement by the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi after the China Square saga, China asked the Kenyan government to create an inclusive and friendly business environment so as to better promote China-Kenya practical cooperation for mutual benefit between the two countries.
“The Embassy has taken note of the recent situation on the issue of China Square and would like to reiterate that the Embassy supports deepening trade and investment cooperation between China and Kenya, and supports Chinese enterprises and Chinese citizens in conducting business in accordance with Kenyan laws and regulations,” the embassy stated.
ACA raided China Square and confiscated goods worth Sh50million following a trademark complaint.
ACA Executive Director Robi Njoroge Mbugua said the authority seized the suspected counterfeit goods following a complaint from M/s Smithmo Company Ltd about “FINDER branded tools.”
The company holds the registered trademark of “FINDER” in Kenya, and ACA’s Enforcement Directorate promptly acted on the complaint. China Square owner Lei Cheng however said that the move is a political witch-hunt to have him out of business explaining that the dispute between China Square and Finder was a misunderstanding that had been resolved.
In a statement on Sunday, the Kenya China Chamber of Commerce (KCCC) expressed their that Lei Cheng had followed the required legal procedures before establishing the business.
“We feel discriminated and don’t sit well with the remarks of the Trade Cabinet Secretary to have Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor buy out the lease for the mall which were stated without any consultations with all parties involved.
The mall has been at the centre of controversy since its launch on January 29, 2023, after Trade, Investments and Industry Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria revealed his intentions to kick the China Square owner out of business.
Kuria had disclosed that he had talks with Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor Pof. Paul Wainaina and directed him to buyout the lease of China Square and hand it over to local traders following uproar on take-over of local jobs.
Kuria had emphasised that the country welcomes Chinese investors as manufacturers but not traders.