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Here is What you need to know about Kenya-EU deal

Dec 19, 2023
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Kenya and the European Union (EU) signed a groundbreaking trade agreement signalling the conclusion of an eight-year negotiation.

The partnership aims to strengthen economic ties between the two regions.

Present during the signing ceremony was EU President Ursula Von Der Leyen.

President William Ruto hailed the new pact noting that a new era has been ushered to blend with opportunities

EU is one of Kenya’s largest trading partners and the most important export market.

The two are major partners in the economic and political context, and the agreement is set to bring our relationship to the next level.

Total trade between the EU and Kenya reached €33 billion in 2022, with an increase of 27 per cent compared to 2018.

Trade between the EU and Kenya is balanced with a slight surplus in the EU’s favour of €768 million.

The EU’s imports from Kenya are mainly vegetables, fruits, and flowers while the EU’s exports to Kenya are mainly in mineral and chemical products and machinery.

The EU is Kenya’s first export destination with 16 percent of its total exports in 2022.

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Kenya and the EU was explicitly integrated as a key deliverable of the EU-Kenya Strategic dialogue launched in June 2021, and it is a crucial component of engagement between the two partners.

The EU-Kenya EPA aims at implementing the provisions of the EU-East African Community (EAC) EPA that was concluded in 2014 and will be open for other EAC countries to join Bilateral implementation is based on a decision of the East African Community from 2021 to let individual go ahead under the principle of variable geometry.

The application of the regional agreement with the EAC has been blocked since 2016, when Kenya, Rwanda and the EU Member States signed the agreement but not the other EAC partner states The EU- Kenya Agreement will remain open to the State’s accession of the EAC Partner.

The EU-Kenya EPA will boost bilateral trade in goods and investments It will also flow and contribute to sustainable economic growth.

It will also be accompanied by trade-related development cooperation to support economic growth and job creation.

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Kenya will open its market gradually to imports from the EU, benefitting from transitional periods.

The country will also benefit from other provisions that consider its development needs such as special safeguards for agriculture, measures on food security and infant industry protection.

This chapter guarantees that the EU will not apply export subsidies even in times of market crisis, and commits the Parties to a deepened policy dialogue on agriculture and food security including transparency as regards their respective domestic policies.

The EPAs are international agreements that do not expire.

Thus, both the free access of Kenya into the EU market without any time limit, and the long-term free access of EU products to the Kenyan market increase incentives to invest in Kenya, as other EPAs do in other developing ACP countries, and in building capacity to meet EU standards.

Legal certainty stability and predictability are among the main aspects potential investors are likely to consider when deciding on an investment.

This agreement with Kenya contains a robust and comprehensive chapter on trade and sustainable development (TSD) reflecting a high level of ambition It incorporates the vast majority of the outcome of the EU’s TSD review.

The agreement includes for example provisions on labour standards, climate change and biodiversity gender equality. Furthermore, it prevents both parties from lowering labour and environmental standards to attract trade or investment.

These commitments have strong normative value Therefore his agreement has a high transformative potential.

Kenya has committed to liberalizing the equivalent of 82.6 per cent of imports from the EU by value.

Under Kenya’s current tariff regime, more than half of these imports are already imported duty-free not only from the EU but from the entire world.

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