7 June 2018

East Africa: EA Cables Cries for Help Over Chinese Fakes

East Africa Cables (EA Cables) wants Kenya to diplomatically engage China to clampdown on look-a-like substandard cables, which it says are endangering its regional investment by flooding its key markets in East Africa.

In a letter addressed to Foreign Affairs secretary Monica Juma, Michael Waweru, the listed firm's chairman said the cables bearing EA Cables trademark logo were passed on as genuine products to unsuspecting consumers exposing them to risks of fire and poor performance.

"Discuss with the Government of China measures to be taken to stop Chinese industries from flooding Kenya and the EAC with substandard products that have put our products in disrepute.

All our investments in making quality products and popularising our products are now in vain," he said.

While EA Cables has launched the 'Zinduka' text-based surveillance platform to help customers ascertain genuine products, Mr Waweru said increased seizures of substandard cables across the region bearing its logo showed a need for a government-to-government diplomatic intervention.

Last week, a group of Chinese exhibitors were arrested at KICC displaying China-made electrical cables bearing EA Cables name and logo.

Charged

They have since been charged before court with possession of counterfeit products.

Last month, two consignments stashed in 40 feet containers of counterfeit cables were impounded at Mombasa Port, akin to February 2016 when another two consignments were impounded at the same point of entry.

Mr Waweru said hundreds of jobs at their two manufacturing plants in Kenya and Tanzania as well as in their branded distribution networks across Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan were now in jeopardy as China-made cables had flooded the market.

"We employ hundreds of workers and have heavily invested in sensitising East Africans on our quality products. But these Chinese brands are riding on our investment distributors to sell products that have been illegally labelled," he said.

He said Kenya's Manufacturing Pillar under President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big 4 development Agenda might miserably fail since the substandard and counterfeit cables were finding their way into the market indicating existence of unscrupulous customs officials who allowed them in.

The former taxman pointed out that consolidated cargo was the biggest culprit and urged for enhance scrutiny since it was small-scale traders who instructed and paid China-based firms to manufacture substandard cable.

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