Kenya, European Union sign key trade deal at State House, Nairobi

President Ruto oversees the signing of a trade agreement between Kenya and EU at State House, Nairobi. [PSC]

Kenya and the European Union have on Monday, December 18 signed a trade agreement that officially marks the end of an eight-year negotiation.

Speaking during the ceremony held at State House, Nairobi, President William Ruto expressed his optimism that the partnership will further strengthen economic ties and bolster cooperation between the two regions.

"Although today represents a moment of monumental promise, it is also the beginning of a historic partnership for historic transformation and it is key to note that the core of this arrangement is to put real money into the pockets of ordinary people," Ruto said.

Kenya is now set to benefit from duty-free and quota-free access to the EU which remains Kenya's biggest export market.

The European Union delegation was led by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, who called the partnership a win-win situation for both sides while calling on other East African countries to join the pact.

"We are opening a new chapter in our solid relationship and now our effort should be focused on implementation and we aim at deepening the trade ties between us," von der Leyen said.

Early last year, Kenya and the EU signed a Joint Statement at the margins of the EU-AU Summit agreeing to advance negotiations on the EU-Kenya EPA, which will remain open for other EAC partner states.

Negotiations were concluded on May 24, 2023, at a technical level and on June 19, 2023, at the political level.