Nairobi — Kenya’s exports to Europe is set to expand following the signing of the European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs).
The deal sets pace for trade liberation, offering tariff-free quota-free access of Kenyan exports to the European Union.
“It assures us of an expanded, lucrative and sustainable market, enhancing trade and investment opportunities,” said President William Ruto.
He noted that increased trade with EU — with population of about 500 million people — will create jobs, expand earnings and stimulate sustainable economic growth.
The President spoke on Monday at State House, Nairobi, during the Kenya-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) signing ceremony.
“This is a giant step forward. It sets the stage for the initiation of the EAC partner states into the Agreement.”
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, the European Commission Executive Vice-President and European Union Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis and Trade CS Moses Kuria.
EU Chief Negotiator Dora Correia and her Kenyan counterpart who is also the Trade Principal Secretary Alfred K’Ombudo were also present.
The development follows President Ruto’s meeting in Brussels in March where the Chief Negotiators were tasked to expedite the outstanding aspects of EPAs with the view of reaching a conclusion by June.
Beyond trade, President Ruto said the Agreement is designed to stimulate investment and manufacturing.
“Kenya is finally ready to take its place as a global player in export-led manufacturing and services,” explained President Ruto.
He encouraged European firms that import goods from Kenya to invest in value addition and export finished, value added products out of the country.
The negotiated agreement also anchors Kenya as the natural Hub for European companies seeking markets in the EAC, COMESA, SADC and the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“By locating your investment in Kenya, you will gain market access to the rest of the African continent.”
Mr Dombrovskis observed that there is a huge trade potential in Kenya.
“This Agreement is a strong incentive for increased trade and foreign direct incentives. It will support sustainable economic growth,” argued Mr Dombrovskis.
He said the EU remains steadfast in promoting regional integration.
“We will ensure that we break economic and political barriers to integrate the world more.”
Mr Gachagua said the pact validates the Government’s commitment to transforming Kenya through trade and investment.
“The agreement opens doors for other trade and investment deals to be signed,” added Mr Kuria. – Presidential Communication Service