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Trade deal passes through Kenya, UK Parliaments

NEWS
By Fredrick Obura | March 10th 2021
Kenya's Parliament building in Nairobi (PHOTO: FILE)

NAIROBI, KENYA: A multi-billion trade deal between Kenya and United Kingdom has been ratified by both countries’ parliaments.

Parliament on Tuesday ratified the trade deal, which is estimated at Sh200 billion, a few days after the UK counterpart did the same.

On Wednesday, British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott in her tweet noted that the deal will bring significant benefits for Kenyan and British businesses, workers and the economies.

“Pleased our Economic Partnership Agreement has passed through both the UK and Kenyan Parliament. We look forward to the exchange of ratification instruments soon. This is a deal which brings significant benefits for Kenyan and British businesses, workers and our economies,” she tweeted.

The deal, signed between Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Trade Betty Maina and her UK counterpart Ranil Jayawardena on December 8, 2020, was welcomed with optimism by the business communities in both countries.

Aside from allowing duty-free access of Kenyan goods to the UK market, CS Maina said simplified rules of origin would allow local traders a diversified export portfolio, helping fast-track the development of local industries.

Kenya’s private sector has also welcomed the trade pact with the UK, stating that the deal provides an opportunity for investment and growth of local industries, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are cognisant of the fact that the bulk of trade between the UK and Kenya is in horticulture or agriculture-based and that the agriculture sector is the mainstay of Kenya’s economy,” said Kenya Private Sector Society chief executive Carole Kariuki in a letter to Parliament. “We remain hopeful that the agreement will be ratified as soon as possible to enable businesses to start enjoying the benefits of the economic partnership between the two countries.”

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Agricultural exporters under the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya, Fresh produce Consortium of Kenya and the Kenya Flower Council have similarly backed the deal, citing Sh151 billion in horticultural exports to London last year.

“The UK remains among the most important destinations for Kenya’s fresh produce as it accounts for over 30 per cent of all fresh produce exports from Kenya,” said the lobbies in a statement. “On average, the UK imports about 21,000 tonnes of flowers, 8,000 tonnes of fruits and 35,000 tonnes of vegetables from Kenya annually.”

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