The Kenya-EU economic partnership agreement to boost trade

Kenya and the European Union have sealed an Economic Partnership Agreement that will grant the East African nation duty-free status and unlimited access to the bloc for its exports.

An initial draft deal was secured in June after seven months of negotiations. The deal was approved by the European Union Council last week.

It will now be presented to the parliaments of both sides for ratification before it comes into force.

Under the deal Kenya is required to reciprocate by gradually opening its market to EU products.

The EU is Kenya’s leading export destination and second-largest trading partner, totalling about €3.3 of trade in 2022 – an increase of 27% compared to 2018.

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Kenya is a major exporter of tea, coffee, flowers, fruits and vegetables to the EU, which accounts for 21% of its overall exports.

It buys machinery, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals from the EU.

Kenyan President William Ruto and EU Commission chief Ursula Von Der Leyen were at a signing ceremony in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

“At the core of this arrangement is our aspiration to put real money into the pockets of ordinary people: farmers, craftsmen and women, fabricators, transporters and various other kinds of workers who contribute to the manufacturing, intercontinental transport and last-mile delivery to consumers of various products that are a subject of the signing of this agreement,” President Ruto said.

The EPA was initially meant for East African Community (EAC) members but all countries in the regional bloc, barring Kenya, abandoned the trade pact in 2014.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said “We encourage the other Eastern African countries to join.”

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