Kenya has signed an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the United Kingdom (U.K) that aims to boost economic development and promote regional trade between the two nations once the U.K transitions out of EU trading arrangements.
The post-Brexit deal was signed by Kenya’s trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina and UK’s International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena in London. There have been concerns on how Brexit will affect trade between the two countries. However, the deal will ensure the two remain important trading partners.
It will ensure that all companies operating in Kenya, including British businesses, can continue to benefit from duty-free access to the UK market. In Kenya, the deal will support jobs and create new opportunities. Also, the agreement is expected to avoid any possible disruption to U.K businesses. The UK market accounts for 43% of total exports of vegetables from Kenya as well as at least 9% of cut flowers, and this agreement will support Kenyans working in these sectors by maintaining tariff-free market access to the UK.
According to Ranil Jayawardena, the deal will ensure businesses have the certainty they need to continue trading as they do now, supporting jobs and livelihoods in both our countries. “Today’s agreement is also a first step towards a regional agreement with the East African Community, and I look forward to working with other members to secure an agreement to forge ever-closer trading ties,” he said.
On the other hand, according to Jane Marriott, British High Commissioner to Kenya, the deal also recognises the importance of the wider region, and the agreement is open for other members of the East African Community to join. James Duddridge, U.K Minister for Africa states that the agreement will provide the strongest possible platform for the United Kingdom, Kenya and, ultimately, the whole EAC, to expand their trade relationship in future.
The provisions of the Economic Partnership Agreement are expected to apply as from the 1st day 2021. The post-Brexit agreement is among the six agreements that the U.K has secured across 14 countries. It also makes up one of the signed or agreed in principle trade agreements that the country has ventured with 55 countries across the world in under two years.