Kenya, UK sign new trade deal in London ahead of Brexit

UK and Kenyan officials during the signing of a trade deal in London on December 8, 2020/ COURTESY

Kenya and the UK on Tuesday finally signed a new trade deal in London.

This is aimed at forestalling the possibility of trade disruptions for Kenyan business people, farmers, and exporters post-Brexit come December 31, 2020.

In a statement, the UK government said the agreement will ensure all companies operating in Kenya, including British businesses, can continue to benefit from duty-free access as they export products, including vegetables and flowers to their customers, back in the UK.

The deal is a translation of the terms previously agreed between the EU and the East African Community and includes clauses to allow other EAC states to join in the future.

“Top goods imports to the UK from Kenya in 2019 were in coffee, tea and spices (£121 million), vegetables (£79 million) and live trees and plants, mostly flowers (£54 million). The UK market accounts for 43 per cent of total exports of vegetables from Kenya as well as at least nine per cent of cut flowers, and this agreement will support Kenyans working in these sectors by maintaining tariff-free market access to the UK,” the statement said.

The deal further guarantees continued market access for UK exporters, who together sold £815m in goods and services to Kenya last year.

Kenya is an important trading partner for the UK as it is the largest economy in East Africa and among the top 10 across the continent.

International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena said the deal gives businesses the certainty that they’ll be able to continue trading as they do now, supporting jobs and livelihoods in both our countries.

“I look forward to forging further trade ties with Kenya – the largest economy in the region – and working with other East African countries to agree trade continuity, harnessing free and fair trade to secure shared prosperity for our peoples,” Jayawardena said.

Minister for Africa James Duddridge said the UK is a champion of liberal free trade and believes in building strong, lasting partnerships in Africa.

“Our approach delivers mutual benefits and we have a proud record of doing business with integrity. This trade deal will build on the UK and Kenya’s historic ties and is the perfect springboard to increase our trading in future,” Duddridge said.

UK and Kenya move closer to signing trade deal

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