It’s a new deal: as the UK leaves the European Union later today a new trade agreement between the UK and Kenya comes into force. The ‘U.K.-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement’ comes into effect on January 1 (to be reviewed every five years).
In December Kenya signed an agreement with the U.K. to ensure continued preferential trade terms with what is its biggest European trading partner. The deal was signed in London by International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Minister Betty Maina.
The trade agreement ensures that companies operating in Kenya, including British businesses, will continue to benefit from duty-free access to the UK market.
Kenya, which has the biggest economy in the East African Community, struck the bilateral deal because it is designated as a developing economy and would not be eligible for the preferential access granted to least-developed countries.
KENYAN EXPORTS TO THE UK
Kenyan exports to UK, which include tea, flowers, fruit and vegetables, will now continue to have duty- and quota-free access after the U.K. leaves the European Union.
In 2019 the U.K. accounted for almost one-third, or 40 billion shillings ($359 million), of Kenya’s 133 billion shillings worth of exports to the EU.
Kenya, which is the world’s biggest producer of black tea, exported $150 million worth of leaves to the U.K. in 2019, while sales of flowers amounted to $105 million. Meanwhile Kenya imported 35 billion shillings of goods from the U.K. or about 15% of total purchases from the EU, including machinery, autos, pharmaceuticals, and electrical and electronic equipment.
Goods exported to the UK from Kenya in 2019 included tea, coffee and spices (£121 million); vegetables (£79 million); and live trees and plants, mostly flowers (£54 million). The UK market accounts for 43% of total exports of vegetables from Kenya as well as 9% of cut flowers.
The new trade deal will also help approximately 2,500 UK businesses exporting goods to Kenya each year.