NAIROBI, 10 March 2021 – Lawmakers in Kenya have ratified a trade deal under which Kenyan agricultural products will maintain duty and quota-free access into the United Kingdom (UK).
Passage of the deal, named the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), came a day after the parliament in the UK passed an act, paving the way for its implementation.
Products like tea, coffee, cut flowers, fruits and vegetables will maintain the same level of trade advantages they had under the old trade deal sealed with the UK via the European Union (EU).
A majority of lawmakers approved the deal, essentially shutting down calls by a minority of MPs for further amendments and despite an ongoing court case against the agreement.
The court case against the agreement is filed by small-scale Kenyan farmers who allege a lack of public participation.
According to the deal, import taxes on 82.6 percent of products originating from the UK will be abolished after 25 years.
Economic observers and campaigners for the industrialization of Africa have pointed to Economic Partnership Agreements signed with the EU or with individual European and Asian nations as instruments to legalized dumping of industrial products on African nations.
Kenya’s industrialization minister is required henceforth, under the deal, to submit an annual progress report and an economic assessment on the gains, losses and developments arising from its implementation.
Kenya’s annual trade value with the UK is estimated between $638 million to $820 million.