Kenya and EU Forge Strong Economic Ties with Duty-Free Trade Agreement – Kenya and the European Union (EU) have solidified their economic ties by signing an Economic Partnership Agreement that promises duty-free access for Kenyan farm produce into the EU, its largest export market. At a signing ceremony held in Nairobi, officials stated that tariffs on European goods entering Kenya would be gradually reduced over a span of 25 years.
This agreement, achieved after seven months of negotiations, stands out as one of the swiftest deals ever struck by the EU. Kenya, as Africa’s seventh-largest economy, boasts significant exports of tea, coffee, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, with the EU constituting 21% of its overall export market.
President William Ruto emphasized that the agreement goes beyond trade, as it aims to stimulate investments and foster manufacturing within Kenya. By encouraging foreign investment and promoting local production, the deal has the potential to boost Kenya’s economic growth and create employment opportunities.
It is worth noting that Kenya had previously signed a trade deal with the EU in 2016, alongside its counterparts in the East African Community (EAC) trade bloc. However, since most of the EAC countries did not sign the agreement, it did not come into full effect. While the other EAC members, classified as least developed countries, could continue to access the EU market without the deal, Kenya, as a middle-income country, required a separate arrangement. The newly signed agreement will now undergo ratification processes in both the Kenyan and EU parliaments.
Additionally, Kenya is actively engaged in negotiations for a trade and investment deal with the United States. The country’s trade minister has expressed optimism that this agreement will be finalized and signed next year. Strengthening ties with major trading partners like the EU and the US will diversify Kenya’s export markets and promote economic resilience.
The Economic Partnership Agreement between Kenya and the EU signifies a positive step towards enhancing trade relations and economic prosperity. By securing duty-free access for its agricultural products, Kenya stands to benefit from increased market opportunities and trade expansion. The agreement’s broader focus on investment and manufacturing will contribute to Kenya’s long-term economic development, while ongoing negotiations with the United States demonstrate the country’s commitment to fostering international trade partnerships.
Kenya and EU Forge Strong Economic Ties with Duty-Free Trade Agreement