Nairobi, June 19, 2023 – In a significant development for bilateral trade, the European Union (EU) and Kenya have successfully concluded negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The agreement, announced during a ceremony in Nairobi, aims to promote trade expansion, economic opportunities, and sustainable development.
Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “Concluding negotiations for an Agreement with Kenya – the economic hub of East Africa – is a historic moment. It puts us firmly on the path towards a privileged relationship based on trust, rules, and opportunity. It will bring our regions closer and unlock new areas of cooperation and mutual benefit for our workers, businesses, and traders.”
The EPA is set to strengthen the already robust trade relationship between the EU and Kenya. With the EU being Kenya’s largest export destination and second-largest trading partner, the agreement is poised to create additional opportunities for Kenyan businesses and exporters. By fully opening the EU market to Kenyan products and providing greater legal certainty, the EPA aims to stimulate EU investments in Kenya.
This trade deal is particularly noteworthy for its emphasis on sustainability. The EPA includes comprehensive provisions regarding climate and environmental protection, labor rights, and gender equality. Commissioner Dombrovskis highlighted this aspect, stating, “This Agreement enshrines a shared commitment to sustainable development, including labor rights, the environment, and climate action.”
Recognizing Kenya’s development needs, the agreement incorporates measures to support its gradual market opening, safeguard agriculture, and protect developing industries. Furthermore, the EPA features a dedicated chapter on economic and development cooperation, aiming to enhance the competitiveness of the Kenyan economy. This will be supported by EU development assistance, contributing to the smooth implementation of the agreement and assisting local farmers in meeting EU standards.
The next steps involve the EPA undergoing legal revision and translation before it is presented to the Council for signature and conclusion. Once adopted by the Council, both the EU and Kenya can officially sign the agreement. The European Parliament will then review the text for consent. Provisional application of certain provisions may take place prior to full ratification by Kenya and EU member states.
This EPA between the EU and Kenya aligns with the EU-East African Community (EAC) EPA and remains open for other EAC countries to join in the future. It serves as a crucial deliverable of the EU’s 2021 Trade Policy Review, aiming to deepen trade agreements with African nations and promote sustainability objectives.
As Kenya emerges as a reliable ally in the fight against climate change and sustainability efforts in Africa, the EU-Kenya EPA symbolizes a significant milestone in their partnership. It not only strengthens trade ties but also reinforces their shared commitment to a sustainable and prosperous future.
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