The government is committed to continued engagement with all stakeholders, particularly the private sector, farmers and value chain players, on the benefits of the Kenya-UK Economic Partnership Agreement, Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina has said.
Speaking duting a roundtable breakfast with the media at the Nairobi Serena Hotel on Friday, CS Maina said the agreement has undergone rigorous public engagement and an all-inclusive process with adherence to due processes and procedures as stipulated in the law.
The EPA deal is currently awaiting ratification by Parliament.
Maina added that public views on the pact were sought by Parliament on February 3, 2021 “in fulfillment of Constitution 2010 and the Treaty and Ratifications Act, 2012”.
“Kenya has negotiated a futuristic EPA that, once ratified and implemented, will deliver immense export & investment opportunities for Kenyans and EAC region, in line with the Big 4 Agenda and Kenya Vision 2030,” the CS said.
She noted that one of the principal benefits of the EPA is that while exports from Kenya gain immediate access to the UK market duty and quota-free, Britains access to the EAC market will be subject to a progressive and gradual reduction of duties and quota restrictions, implemented over 25 years.
On February 22, Maina defended the UK-Kenya trade deal, saying it provides certainty for Kenya small-scale farmers in tea, coffee, horticulture, floriculture and apiculture.
Newly appointed Trade Chief Administrative Secretary David Osiany said the EPA is expected to drive growth and expansion of exports in some priority sectors and value chains resulting in more investors & more business, thus more employment.
Also present was PS Trade Ambassador Johnson Weru.
According to the Trade ministry, Kenya’s exports to the UK as of August 2020 were valued at Sh34.9 billion, while imports were valued at Sh18.9B with a trade balance of Sh15.9 billion in Kenya’s favour.
The Kenya – UK Economic Partnership Agreement currently awaiting ratification by Parliamenthas undergone rigorous public engagement & an all inclusive process with adherence to due processes & procedures as stipulated in law – MoITED CS Hon @maina_betty @IndustryKE @PDUDelivery
— Trade Kenya (@Trade_Kenya) February 26, 2021
There have been concerns that the the post-Brexit trade deal with the UK would open the window for British companies to flood the local market with finished and unfinished goods that exclude agricultural and industrial products at the expiry of a seven-year moratorium.
This is after Maina said Kenya is offering to open 82.6 per cent value of total trade to the UK over an extended transition period (up to 25 years with a seven- year moratorium) constituting of mainly raw materials, capital goods, intermediate products and all other essential goods.
She said this in an explanatory memorandum accompanying the EPA that was tabled in Parliament on December 22, for ratification.
The UK High Commission in Kenya, however said, the deal allows for gradual and partial reduction of tariffs on some but not all UK exports to Kenya.
“This carefully phased liberalisation for some goods will be spread over 25 years from the start of the agreement,” UK mission said.