Britain High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott has welcomed the approval of UK-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement by the respective parliaments.
Marriott said she looks forward to the exchange of ratification instruments soon.
“This is a deal which brings significant benefits for Kenyan and British businesses, workers and our economies,” she said on Wednesday.
“Trade between our two countries is already worth Sh200 billion a year, and we’re excited about the opportunity to build on that. With our Kenyan counterparts and businesses, we will be explaining more the benefits of this EPA for our countries,” the envoy added.
Kenya’s High Commissioner to the UK Manoah Esipisu said he is pleased the Kenyan Parliament has ratified the agreement.
“We are now assured that all companies operating in Kenya will continue to access and trade with the UK duty free, oiling wheels of billions of shillings of trade,” Esipisu said on Wednesday.
“This important milestone secures the future for several thousand Kenyan and British businesses. We now look forward to EPA’s full implementation and also the next phase of discussion covering key areas of services and innovation as we aim to deliver a win-win mutual prosperity agenda,” he added.
Kenya’s National Assembly on Tuesday considered and approved the motion on the Ratification of the Economic Partnership Agreement between Kenya and the United Kingdom.
It was moved by Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives chairman Adan Ali.
This paves the way for its enforcement after United Kingdom legislators endorsed the trade deal with Kenya on Tuesday.
In its report, the committee observed that the agreement provides for trade defence measures such as safeguards, anti-dumping and countervailing measures to take care of import surges and subsideised imports.
“This is an important tool for Kenya to use in protecting the domestic industry and agriculture sector for products which are not excluded from liberalisation,” the committee said.
The committee also observed that the EPA secures and maintains the UK market for Kenyan goods.
“It provides full duty free and quota free market access conditions for goods originating from Kenya being a member of EAC into the market of UK on a secure, long-term and predictable basis in accordance with the modalities laid down in the agreement,” the report said.
Based on these, among other observation, the committee recommended for approval of the agreement.
There have been concerns that 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.
Kenya small-scale farmers had sued the government seeking to stop it from ratifying the trade agreement until public participation is done.
The controversial trade deal reduces tariffs on imports of products such as chicken pork and maize for a period of 25 years. The farmers say this will hurt them, as their products will have to compete with those from the UK.
The agreement seeks to have customs duties applicable to UK exports to Kenya progressively abolished.
The first move is the reduction of basic duty on UK imports to 80 per cent, seven years after the entry into force of the agreement, with a final abolishment after 15 years.
Kenyan lawmakers initially delayed debate on the trade deal and sought more details.
Some MPs on last Wednesday protested a clause that bars them from amending or expressing reservations on the pact.
On the other side, UK lawmakers raised concerns the exclusion of other EAC member states could be disruptive for integration of the bloc.