Uhuru seeks post Brexit deal with UK during meeting with May
The Kenyan government has formally reached out to the United Kingdom to sign up a new trade deal following its decision to exit the European Union.
The move nullified previous trade agreements between the two countries, necessitating the need to rework trade relational that are favorable.
The negotiations began with President Uhuru Kenyatta putting in a formal request to UK Prime minister Theresa May seeking to guarantee access of Kenyan goods into the United Kingdom.
It’s the first official meeting to be held by the two leaders.
Of importance to the head of state is the duty free access of Kenyan goods into Britain.
“It is Kenya’s desire to continue having seamless trade relations during and after Brexit. We wish to continue accessing the UK market duty-free and quota-free after the UK exits the EU,” President Kenyatta said.
The UK is Kenya’s third largest export market, signifying the importance of ironing out trade relations.
The move by the government comes at a time of impasse in the East African Community (EAC) over a joint trade agreement with the European Union following the Brexit decision.
While Kenya and Rwanda have both signed the deal, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi all remain apprehensive, forcing Kenya to move to secure bilateral trade agreements.
Kenya’s main exports into the EU and United Kingdom are flowers, tea, fresh vegetables.
Kenya is the only EAC member not classified as a least developed country and could attract higher tariffs to access the British market.
President Kenyatta also used the meeting to urge Prime Minister May to extend technical cooperation and financial assistance to miraa growing areas following the UK’s decision to ban imports.