Kenya-UK trade deal comes into force
The recently ratified Kenya-UK economic partnership agreement (EPA) came into force on Monday.
This is as the pair of countries exchange notes on the EPA signifying the conclusion of requisite domestic processes to enact the deal.
Both the UK and Kenya are now expected to sign on the instruments of ratification before depositing the same with their respective government depositories as the deal’s final act.
“Kenyan exporters to the UK can now be assured that the Kenya-UK EPA is now operational. The ball in now in our court to position ourselves to maximize the market potential for Kenya’s exports,” said Trade and Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina.
“We are giving our commitment that the EPA will be implemented in accordance with the terms agreed on to the mutual benefit of people in the two countries.”
Ratified by Kenya’s and UK respective Parliaments earlier this month, the pact allows Kenya the immediate access to the UK market on duty and quota free terms while UK goods will in the reciprocal see gradual access of up to 25 years to the year 2046.
Kenya has nevertheless locked out part of its nascent industries represented by about 17.4 per cent of its trade in view of protecting the markets from competition by UK goods.
Kenya is backing the deal to scale up its volume of trade with the UK from the current average of Ksh.40 billion per year to Ksh.2 trillion over the life of the deal.
The conclusion of the pact has nevertheless been achieved on the back of backlash with parties opposed to the deal fingering the deal for exposing the domestic market to an influx of UK goods.
Theo Clarke, a UK MP and a member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson Trade envoy to Kenya says the attainment of the pact has been critical for the continued access of Kenyan goods to her home country.
“Without these agreement, key exports from Kenya would immediately be much higher at the market place. This would be damaging when the country is competing with peers enjoying duty-free market access,” she said.
Kenya’s key exports to the UK comprise of coffee, tea, flowers, vegetables, fruits, textiles, edible herbs and footwear.