The Kenya-UK trade deal, signed between Kenya’s Secretary for Trade Betty Maina and her UK counterpart Ranil Jayawardena on December 8, was welcomed with optimism by the business communities of both countries.
However, last week, the Kenyan Parliament refused to ratify it. This came after questions from legislators about the trade deal’s fine print, and raised tumultuous discussions that could derail Britain’s first post-Brexit bilateral trade deal with an African country.
Fpcfreshtalkdaily.co.uk quoted Dagoretti MP John Kiarie as saying: “The EPA as presented is copied from the economic partnership agreement that the East African Community (EAC) and the European Union (EU) are negotiating on. So, is it in order for Kenya to ratify this deal without other partner states.”
The Kenyan Parliament also questioned the treaty’s public participation, pointing to clauses that have raised concerns from some stakeholders. According to the government, the trade deal is important because the UK takes up a third of all Kenyan exports to the EU.
“Analysis of the UK market potential for products that have been earmarked for driving Kenya’s national export agenda reveals great opportunity that can only be exploited through assured market access arrangement that is now provided by the East African Community (EAC)/Kenya-UK EPA,” said Ms Maina, in a memorandum to Parliament explaining the deal. “The market potential that awaits Kenya’s exploitation is estimated at Sh20 trillion against Kenya’s current level of exports, which stands at 0.2 per cent of the total UK market size.”
Agricultural exporters under the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya, Fresh produce Consortium of Kenya and the Kenya Flower Council have similarly backed the deal. ■
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