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UK Suspends Tariffs on Flower Imports from East Africa

In a move set to stimulate trade and economic ties, the UK has announced the temporary suspension of tariffs on cut flowers from East Africa, effective today. This decision aims to streamline trade processes and reduce costs for flower growers in the region and beyond.

Under the new policy, cut flowers can be exported to the UK at a 0% tariff rate, regardless of whether they transit through a third country. This development is particularly significant for East African flower producers who commonly route their exports through intermediary nations or auction houses before reaching the UK market.

The suspension of the 8% duty on cut flowers extends globally but stands as a substantial boon for major flower-producing nations such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. This tariff relief is slated to remain in effect for two years, from April 11, 2024, to June 30, 2026.

John Humphrey, His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, expressed optimism about the move, stating, “The UK’s relationship with East Africa is rooted in mutually beneficial trade. This additional flower power will allow trade to bloom. We go far when we go together… or in this case, we grow far when we grow together, further reinforcing the UK’s commitment to the expansion of trade in East Africa.”

In 2022, Kenya ranked as the world’s fourth-largest exporter of cut flowers, contributing 6% to global exports. Similarly, Ethiopia emerged as Africa’s second-largest cut flower producer, accounting for 23% of Sub-Saharan African exports. Notably, in 2023, trade in cut flowers from Ethiopia to the UK was valued at £12.6 million, with Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda also making significant contributions.

This decision not only fortifies the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership but also reinforces the UK-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement, which commenced in March 2021. This agreement has already yielded substantial benefits, saving Kenyan exporters over KES 1.5 billion (£10 million) annually in duties on various products, including green beans and cut flowers.

The temporary suspension of tariffs on cut flowers underscores the commitment to fostering robust trade relations between the UK and East Africa, marking a significant step towards mutual prosperity.

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