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Kenya moves to secure duty-free trade deal with EU after stalled EPAs talks

Kenya has put in place temporary measures for its exports to the European Union after the implementation of a duty free-quota free trade agreement with other EAC member states stalled.

Classified as a lower middle income economy by the World Bank, Kenya aims to protect its trade interests with the EU after Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi declined to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) citing various economic and political interests.

The agreement, whose negotiations were concluded on October 16, 2014, provides for duty free-quota free access for Kenyan and EAC products to the EU market.

To secure its market position, Kenya has signed a replica of the EPAs with the UK and early this year signed an interim EPA with the EU.

“We have the highest decision making organ called the Summit. For the past five years, the Summit has given guidance on the application of the principle of Variable Geometry, which allows trading partners to make certain progress as long as there is concurrence that the others can catch up later,” Johnson Weru, Kenya’s Principal Secretary in the ministry of Trade and Industry, told The EastAfrican last week.

Although Kenya has signed and ratified the agreement, the pact requires all countries to sign and ratify it as a bloc for it to take effect.

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