Kenya could regain duty free and quota free treatment by end of January 2015. This was reported by the former European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht last week when he visited Kenya. He said that the EU has already started changing the law for Kenya to be reinstated back to the Market Access Regulation (MAR) No. 1528/2007.
The East African Community (EAC) Member States and EU reached an agreement on the EPA and initialized the agreement in mid-October. The EU Commissioner said they can’t organize refunds for the import taxes paid by Kenyan exporters since there is no provision in law for it. However he said that the EU and the Kenya Government can get into partnership to initiate trade support programmes for the affected sectors.
Meanwhile, Kenya will continue to export under the GSP tariff regime until the reinstatement process is over. The other EAC partner states are trading under ‘everything but Arms’ regime which allows for duty free quota free access to the EU market as they are least developed Countries (LDCs). The Kenyan flower exporters started using the ‘GSP form A’ which is an outright requirement for imports from Kenya to benefit from EU GSP duties which ranges from 5 to 8.5%. For flowers, only carnations are benefiting from a 0% tariff-line.
Kenya's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said EPA will offer Kenyan goods duty free quota free access to the EU. EAC states will now be able to focus on improving their economic performance without worrying about the potential loss of duty free access.