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South Africa and EU deal a blow for Kenya

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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

South Africa and EU deal a blow for Kenya

Kenya’s negations for the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union present a new hurdle, as the Union is wary that South Africa could use Kenya as a transit point for goods that have restricted entry into its market.
“In the trade agreement between EU and South Africa, some of the items are classified as ‘sensitive’ and are not allowed to EU without duties. On the other hand, South Africa has trade ties with Kenya that allow these goods in the country. The EU is wary that South Africa could use Kenya as transit for goods to that market hence violating their trade agreement,” said Mr Joseah Rotich, a technical expert in the Ministry of Trade. Mr Rotich said the issue will have to be dealt with before an economic partnership agreement is signed with the EU-  “We are negotiating and expect to solve the matter through regional integration and entering tripartite agreements,” he said.
On the other hand, trade between Kenya and South Africa, mainly in raw materials, has been growing. According to 2012 Economic Survey, Kenya’s imports from South Africa have almost doubled in 2011, compared to 2007.
Last week, South African officials were in Kenya seeking better bilateral trade ties with Nairobi.
Experts have called for the signing of the economic partnership agreement between Kenya and EU to be in sync with the East African regional integration to avert disrupting business. There are concerns that if Kenya, which is particularly under pressure to sign EPAs goes it alone, it could upset the East Africa common market protocol and customs union.
Kenya is in a different trade band from its counterparts in the trade bloc as it is considered a developing country while others are ranked in the least developed countries category. The country’s current trade with EU is carried out under the Generalised System of Preferences agreements that restrict some items while the other countries operate under the Everything -But -Arms tier that enables them to export all that meets EU market standards.
Four Eastern and Southern African states (ESA) Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and Zimbabwe have already concluded an EPA with the EU, which was endorsed by the EP middle of January.

Source: Bilaterals.org