Kenya and the United Kingdom on Tuesday said they have concluded talks on a new Trade Agreement which will formally be signed after review.
According to the UK, the agreement will ensure all companies operating in Kenya, including British businesses, will continue to benefit from duty-free access as they export products including vegetables and flowers to their customers back in the UK.
International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena said: “I’m delighted we’ve reached a trade agreement with Kenya. This deal gives businesses the certainty that they’ll be able to continue trading as they do now, supporting jobs and livelihoods in both our countries.”
Minister for Africa James Duddridge said: “This trade deal will build on the UK and Kenya’s historic ties and is the perfect springboard to increase our trading in future.”
In addition, the UK said: “This deal also recognises the importance of the wider region – other members of the East African Community trade block are able to join the agreement when they are ready.”
Trade CS Betty Maina said the UK-Kenya Free Trade Agreement will guarantee tariff-free access to both markets
will be ratified by the end of the year.
“We have a great opportunity ahead of us, to realise the mutual benefits that our leaders, President Uhuru Kenyatta and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson envisaged when they agreed to start negotiations for a long term trade and economic partnership agreement post Brexit,” said Maina.
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.
“Kenya’s exports to the UK as of August 2020 were valued at Sh34.9 billion while she imported goods worth Sh18.9 billion,” said Maina.
The talks commenced in July and Kenya’s State House indicated that the negotiations were to be conducted within the Kenya-UK Strategic Partnership Framework established by the two leaders in January 2020 and the East African Community (EAC) parameters in order to enhance regional integration.
The U.K. left the European Union on Jan. 31 however, it was given until Dec 31 to conclude the transition.