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Kenya signs duty-free trade deal with European Union

Kenya has announced that it has signed a trade deal with the European Union to give it tariff-free access to the EU market.

Once ratified the deal should mean that Kenyan goods would be cheaper for European consumers, which could increase exports and create more jobs in Kenya.

An EU statement noted that this was a balanced agreement, as it considers “Kenya’s development needs by allowing it a longer period to gradually open its market”.

European goods under the deal when entering Kenya will see tariffs also reduced over a 25-year period.

A signing ceremony for the deal took place in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

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President William Ruto said the agreement is timely. “The compact will stimulate Kenya’s manufacturing and export of finished, value-added products out of Kenya”.

Trade Minister Moses Kuria termed it a “proud moment” for the country, after signing the EU-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis.

The deal took seven months to negotiate, making it one of the fastest the EU has ever struck, officials from both sides said at the signing ceremony.

Kenya signed an initial trade deal with the EU in 2016, alongside its partners in the six-nation East African Community trade bloc.

Because the deal wasn’t signed by most of the EAC countries the deal didn’t fully come into effect.

The EU is one of Kenya’s biggest markets and sells about one-fifth of all its exports there – these are made up of mostly agricultural products including vegetables, cut flowers, tea and coffee.

Kenya is also expected to gradually lower barriers to EU products.

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