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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

EPAs: Kenya close to sign trade pacts with EU

Kenya is closer to signing Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union (EU)
that will enable more products from Europe to enter the local market on equal terms. Most of the issues, according to the government, have been agreed on.
One of the last point of disagreement is the existing trade pact between South Africa and the EU which could affect trade with Europe. Kenya imports more and more raw materials from South Africa and fears that  EU would increase taxes on the goods partly manufactured with those raw materials.
According to the trade agreement between EU and South Africa, some of the items are classified as ‘sensitive’ and not allowed to EU without high taxes while on the other hand, South Africa has trade deal with Kenya allowing these goods. This has made EU wary that South Africa could use Kenya as transit for goods to their market hence violating their trade agreement.
There have been concerns that Kenya might not meet the deadline of October 2014 imposed by the European Union, which could lead to higher tariffs and compromise trade with the EU.  “The EU deadline can affect us but it’s not putting pressure on us as to forget the interests of Kenya and the region,” said Mr Rotich a technical expert in the Ministry of East Africa, Commerce and Tourism in charge of EPA’s docket.
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 avoid disrupting business in the bloc. They have expressed concerns that if Kenya, which is particularly under pressure to sign EPAs goes it alone, it could would have great implications on regional trade.

Source: TrademarkEA

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