Kenya will continue enjoying duty-free and quota-free access for its goods to the European Union (EU) even if neighbouring countries fail to approve the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).
Josiah Rotich, the chief trade development officer at the Trade ministry, said that Kenya will, however, not enjoy other benefits that come with the EPA until all East African Community (EAC) partners ratify the deal.
Among the benefits that will remain pending is the rules of origin, a provision that allows Kenyan exporters to enjoy duty- free access to the European market despite their goods being made using raw materials sourced from other countries.
“On the basis of Kenya ratifying the agreement, the country will continue benefiting from the duty-free, quota-free access for as long as we are still trying to sort ourselves out at the EAC level,” Mr Rotich said during a roundtable meeting organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
“What Kenya is benefiting from the EU is market access only. All the other things in the agreement like rules of origin, the financial support, development component— we don’t benefit from that because so far the agreement has not been ratified by everybody else.”
Kenya and Rwanda signed the European trade deal in September, but it needs approval from all members of the East African Community bloc — which also includes Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda — to take full effect.
Report by The Daily Nation - Kenya