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Brexit to impact negatively on Kenya’s exports, warns Kenya Flower Association

BUSINESS
By Mumbi Kinyua | June 22nd 2016
A worker prepares flower for export. Industry players raise concern over an impending referendum by Britain to exit the EU. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

The British exit from European Union (Brexit) is likely to have negative impact on the Kenyan export market.
For flower exporters, exiting the European Union would be a nightmare.

Kenya Flowers Association (KFC) CEO Jane Ngige said the proposed exit, which will determined through a referendum, is bound to lower flower sales.

“We are concerned because policies will change and this may result in new bilateral negotiations to access its market,” explained Ms Ngige.
This, coming at a time when Kenya is staring at a monthly loss of Sh4 billion if it does not sign the EU trade deal, may further complicate the situation.

The UK electorate will be addressing the question of the country’s membership of the EU on June 23 in a referendum that will agree on whether it will remain in the union.

Kenya faces a monthly loss of Sh4 billion if it does not sign a new trade deal with EU. A new Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is supposed to be signed jointly by all members of the East African Community by October 1.
The deal is set to enable EAC’s products to access the European market duty-free.

With changes imminent, such deals may need a second thought. Dr Nic Cheeseman, Oxford University, says that if Britain exits EU, this drastically changes the situation and the need to rethink the country’s economic policies with both EU and Britain as well.

Things will be bad since we will continue to do business during voting and transition to change. We would like things to remain as they are,” says Ngige.

Cheeseman reckons that if the exit happens, it would also require new Britain - Kenya foreign policy between the two countries.

However, if Britain opts to stay within EU, the impacts will not be as severe considering most of the policies in force are aligned to EU’s set of rules.

The head of delegation at EU, Stefano Dejak was reluctant to comment on the effects before the referendum was held. He said, “We should not start to reason in terms of if or if not ... We should not speculate what the result is. It is for the British to decide.”

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