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Kenya: EU Parliament Approves Economic Partnership with Kenya

The European Union Parliament has given its approval to the Kenya-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that was signed in December of the previous year.

With 366 Members of the European Parliament voting in favor, the agreement has been approved, paving the way for Kenya’s access to the €14 trillion market spanning 27 countries.

The European Union stands as Kenya’s primary export destination and second-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching 3.3 billion Euros in 2022, marking a significant 27% increase compared to 2018.

The EPA guarantees permanent duty-free and quota-free access for Kenyan exports, including flowers, tea, coffee, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other products. This will benefit farmers, processors, and traders, ensuring continued access to the European market without tariffs or quantity restrictions.

Additionally, the EPA creates opportunities for the European Union in trade and investment within Kenya, stimulating job growth in manufacturing sectors such as chemicals, steel, pharmaceuticals, machinery, and related industries. This move positions Kenya as a strategic hub for European investors interested in the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“The new Economic Partnership Agreement will boost bilateral trade even further, support investments, and create good jobs in Kenya. This agreement will also contribute to sustainable and fair economic growth, bringing new opportunities for companies, to the benefit of both our people,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during the signing ceremony.

While the new trade agreement represents a significant boost to Kenya’s economy, which is still in a slow recovery mode, there are concerns regarding the potential inundation of cheap EU goods and its impact on Kenya’s nascent manufacturing sector. However, there are hopes that capacity building and knowledge transfer will be integral aspects of this bilateral agreement, ensuring sustainable growth and development for Kenya’s industries.

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