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Kenya secures post-Brexit trade deal with the UK

By Macharia Kamau | November 10th 2020
President Uhuru Kenyatta and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (PHOTO: FILE)

NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenya has secured a trade deal with the United Kingdom, which will enable Kenyan products to continue accessing the market even after the country has concluded severing links with the European Union.

Kenya products will continue accessing the UK market duty and quota-free, according to the Ministry of Industrialisation in a statement announcing that the two countries concluded negotiations Economic Partnership Agreement last week.

The talks were opened in September and came on the back of January 2020 talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“We have agreed on a comprehensive package of benefits that will ensure a secure, long term and predictable market access for exports originating from the EAC Customs Union,” said Betty Maina Cabinet Secretary industrialisation.

“The negotiations covered a host of other important issues including barriers to the free flow of trade between our two countries. We agreed on shared approaches to trade and investment, including the need to adopt common rules of origin and through a broader acceptance of product standards. Another issue addressed is the need to deepen domestic reform and trade liberalisation.”

Kenya mostly exports fresh produce – such as flowers and vegetables – to the UK, which earned the country Sh40.1 billion in 2019. The trade balance was last year in Kenya’s favour with imports from the UK standing at Sh35.3 billion.

Despite the impact that Covid=19 has had on trade as economies shut down to contain its spread, Kenyans export to the country appear to have been resilient. Provisional data indicate that Kenya exported goods worth Sh34.9 billion in the period between January and August this year.

While the pact is essentially a bilateral one between Kenya and the UK, Maina said that it had considered the interests of Kenya’s neighbouring countries, adding that the agreement mirrors East African Community EPA with the European Union, which facilitates duty -free –quota-free access of exports from EAC countries to the European market.

She noted that the two countries reached “a trade and economic pact that respects the fidelity of the treaty establishing the EAC Customs Union, and provides room for accession by the willing EAC Partner States.”

“This is important to promote the sustainable development of the EAC region and ensure special and differential treatment of least developed countries. The agreement also recalls commitments within the framework of the World Trade Organization and will support African countries to scale up progress towards an African Economic Community.”

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