Kenyan exporters have secured a significant milestone by gaining permanent duty-free access to the lucrative €14 trillion European Union market. The historic moment unfolded at State House, Nairobi, where Trade Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano formalized the Kenya-EU Economic Partnership Agreement alongside European Union Ambassador Henriette Geiger.
The agreement, witnessed by President William Ruto and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, marks the conclusion of several years of negotiations, ensuring that Kenya’s largest export market is now permanently accessible for Kenyan goods.
The signing ceremony also signals Kenya’s commitment to diversify its export portfolio into Europe, with a focus on value-added manufactured products.
Key highlights of the agreement include:
- Immediate and permanent duty-free access: Kenyan goods, including flowers, vegetables, avocadoes, coffee, as well as value-added products like industrial shoes and branded bouquets of flowers, will now enjoy immediate and permanent duty and quota-free access to the European market.
- Opportunities for long-term partnerships: The agreement opens up additional avenues for Kenyan exporters to establish long-term buyer partnerships in the EU, providing a boost to sectors such as agriculture and horticulture.
- Incentives for investment and production: With the removal of trade barriers, the agreement offers stronger incentives for Kenyan businesses to invest more in production and value addition, fostering economic growth and job creation.
- Diversification of export mix: Kenya aims to diversify its export mix into Europe, emphasizing value-added manufactured products. This move aligns with the country’s strategy to position itself as a reliable supplier of high-quality goods in the European market.
- Environmental commitments: The agreement includes ambitious commitments towards environmental protection and sustainable trade, aligning with Kenya’s emphasis on climate change and its transition to a green economy.
Trade Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano expressed optimism about the new era in Kenyan-European relations, emphasizing the potential for increased investment and industrial innovation. President Ruto highlighted the agreement’s role in creating more local jobs through value addition, while European Commission President von der Leyen underscored the potential for technology transfer and access to high-quality machinery from Europe.
The agreement will now undergo the ratification process in both Kenya’s National Assembly and the European Parliament, paving the way for its implementation.
This monumental trade agreement sets the stage for a transformative period in Kenya’s economic landscape, positioning the nation as a key player in the global market and fostering mutually beneficial partnerships with the European Union.