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Saturday, 28 January 2017

Kenya to negotiate new trade deals with Britain and the E.U.

Kenya will have to negotiate new trade deals with both the European Union (EU) and Britain in order to maintain its market share, an official said Tuesday. British Prime Minister Theresa May last week set out her Brexit strategy, including leaving the EU single market, which will prompt renegotiation of trade deals with African countries and other partners. Nelson Ndirangu, Director of Economic Affairs and International Trade at Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, confirmed that Nairobi was in the process of initiating negotiations with Britain and the EU. “We are ready to employ strategies to help us sustain our market share in the EU and Britain,” Ndirangu said. Britain accounts for a 20-percent share out of the total Kenyan exports to the EU market, according to Ndirangu. Kenya has been negotiating with the EU over the trading framework—Economic Partnership Agreement—for the past ten years. With Britain preparing to leave EU formally, Kenya is now forced to devise new ways to maintain its market share in the EU as well as in Britain. According to Kenya’s Economic Survey 2016, Kenya exported goods to the EU market worth 1.45 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, out of which 406 million dollars of goods went to the British market. Ndirangu said that the new trade negotiations will border on maintaining the market shares in both the EU market and the British one. “Our intention is to negotiate for a similar or slightly better than the current trade regime,” Ndirangu said. Kenya’s exports to the EU market include flowers, French beans, cowpeas, coffee, and tea. Currently Kenya is the main exporter of cut flowers for the EU. The East African nation is not the only African countries that will have to negotiate new trade deals with the EU and Britain. Though trade analysts believe the impact of Britain’s EU exit on many African economies will be short-term and relatively insignificant, Britain will have two years to renegotiate trade agreements with African countries. Other quarters however argue it is likely that Britain would leave many existing trade agreements in place and thus mitigate risk of trade disruption. Most of the trade deals Britain has in place with African countries are essentially trade agreements with the EU, which has exclusive jurisdiction over its members’ trade deals.

Source: www.coastweek.com/