Kenya’s trade agreement with the United Kingdom is now operational after both sides’ officials completed the ratification process. Kenya aims to enhance its market share in the UK by 5% by 2025, translating to $10.2 billion (Sh1.1 trillion), up from Ksh 39 billion for the last five years to 2019.
Earlier in March, the post-Brexit trade agreement received approvals from legislators on both sides, creating a path to continue duty and quota-free access of Kenyan exports post-Brexit. The duty-free, quota-free access excludes agricultural and industrial products.
Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina urges Kenyans to position themselves to maximise the market potential of Kenya’s exports, taking advantage of the deal to promote exports in the UK.
The trade agreement will feature a “phased liberalisation on some goods over 25 years”. British High Commissioner Jane Marriot says some tariffs will start to reduce after seven years, while some do not begin until 12 years, reducing slowly until 2046.
Marriot says the two countries now need to create delivery structures to achieve the agreement’s goals, including forming an Economic Partnership Agreement council and the committee of senior officials, among other various technical committees.
Concerns of the Trade Agreement
While the two countries signed the trade agreement in February 2021, there have been concerns from bot sides that delayed its implementation. On the one hand, UK legislators were wary of its ramifications to the EAC’s political and economic relationships.
On the other hand, their Kenyan counterparts were concerned that a clause in the deal barred parliament from amending or expressing reservations. Reports say that the agreement only allows the EPA council comprising of ministers from the countries, a committee of senior officials composed of Permanent Secretaries or Principal Secretaries, and an EPA consultative committee with private sector representatives, civil society and academia to draw amendments.