Kenya and the European Union have signed a trade deal as part of ongoing efforts to boost trade and economic ties between Kenya and the European Union.
Speaking during the ceremony, President William Ruto described the development as a major step in the trade and investment relations between the EU and Kenya saying it signals long-term commitment to ensure farmers, including those in the flower, coffee, tea, fish, peas, and the edible fruits and nuts sectors, are assured of a predictable market.
“Under our bottom-up agenda for economic transformation, we are committed to increase our manufacturing share of GDP and to also lift our export to GDP ratio. This is the purpose of our flagship projects, the County Aggregation and Industrial Parks (CAIPs), to be established in all our 47 counties to maximize output through aggregation and value addition.” Said the President.
He said the government remains committed to the continuous implementation of the business climate reforms agenda and to sustain the country’s position as a continental leader in institutional evolution.
“The EU-Kenya Agreement will therefore retain potential to evolve as an intrinsic feature, insofar as it shall remain open to accession by EAC Partner States, in line with the decision of the Summit, which recognized the need to permit some Partner States to move forward and commence engagements with the EU with a view to starting the EU-EAC-EPA implementation under the principle of variable geometry.” Observed President Ruto.
Deputy president Rigathi Gachagua said the deal was actualized through prudent commitment and focused leadership by the president.
According to Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry, Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria, the agreement underlines the shared ambition of Kenya and the EU to upgrade and strengthen their trade, investment and economic ties.
He said the agreement that revolves around access, facilitation and promotion will focus on reviving the manufacturing sector, enhancing the country’s exports as well as fortifying foreign direct investment.
According to Executive Vice-President and EU Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, the agreement is a key deliverable of the EU-Kenya Strategic Dialogue and will be directly supported by the implementation of the Global Gateway Africa-Europe Investment Package announced at the 6thEU-AU Summit in February 2022.
“This Agreement takes into account our different stages of development. Kenya’s exports to the EU will be tariff-free from day one, while tariffs on EU exports will be liberalised over time and not on all products. We look forward to the entry into force of this agreement as soon as possible so that we can fully reap the untapped potential of our economic and political partnership.” Said Dombrovskis.
The signing of the agreement on Monday marked the end of a negotiation process that kicked off in 2016. The trade deal seeks to implement bilaterally the provisions of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and the East African Community (EAC) Partner States, on which negotiations were finalised in 2014 with the EU-Kenya Agreement remaining open to accession of the EAC Partner States. It is expected to facilitate trade and investment, accompanied by trade-related development cooperation, with a view to further deepen the economic ties between the EU and Kenya and boost sustainable economic growth and job creation.
The parties will work towards the completion of their respective internal procedures for the entry into force of the EPA as soon as possible.