No-deal Brexit vote boon for Kenyan exporters

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to lawmakers in parliament, London, Tuesday March 12, 2019. [AP]

Kenyan exporters to the United Kingdom stand to reap big following the country’s move to review import tariffs in anticipation of a no-deal Brexit vote.

The UK’s Department of International Trade yesterday released new guidelines, slashing import duty on 87 per cent of imports to zero in an attempt to cushion local consumers from price shocks.

“If the UK leaves the European Union with no deal, you may need to pay different rates of customs duty on imports,” said UK’s Department of International Trade in a statement on its website. Exporters dealing in fish, horticulture, leather, tea and coffee are among the biggest winners if MPs vote to exit without a deal.

Other products that have been zero-rated in the proposed tariff guide include textiles, footwear, aluminium and base metals.

The UK Government said the rates are temporary and will run for a year beginning March 29 as the country establishes new import and export tariffs post-Brexit. However, the UK has maintained duty on several food products, including beef, poultry meat, pork and selected milk products in a bid to protect local farmers.

On Tuesday British MPs voted against Prime Minister Theresa May’s second attempt to push through a deal hammered between the EU and the UK, spelling out terms for leaving the 28-member economic bloc.

The debate is still ongoing on whether the country will leave the EU without a deal, go for a second referendum or extend negotiations.

The UK is Kenya’s second largest export market in the EU, with exports to the country in 2017 standing at Sh38.5 billion.

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