M a r k e t N e w s

Kenya, Rwanda sign EPA deal in Brussels

Posted on : Friday, 2nd September 2016

 Kenya and Rwanda have signed the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union taking a step closer to the deal whose conclusion is threatened by reluctant member states.

Trade Ministers for Kenya and Rwanda signed the East African Community-European Union EPA agreement in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday.
Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda have shown reluctance to sign the EPA deal on time to pave the way for its ratification by the European Commission on October 1.
The move prompted Kenya to send a trade delegation led by Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Cabinet secretary Adan Mohamed and Principal secretary Chris Kiptoo to Brussels on Monday for talks, to shield the country from heavy taxes on its exports to the EU.
On Wednesday, CS Mohamed made an appearance at the EU Parliament where the matter to lock out Kenya from the EU market after October 1 was being discussed.
The CS assured the EU Parliament’s International Trade Committee of “the EAC partner states' commitment to the EPA”.
EAC members have been negotiating the EPA since 2007 leading to conclusion of negotiations in 2014 where it was initialled, translated, and legal scrubbing concluded.
The signing of the EPA was set for July 18, during the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development forum in Nairobi.
Tanzania, however, declined to sign. Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said the agreement needed consensus between presidents, while Burundi’s political instability also appeared as a barrier to the deal with the EU.
“If the EPA is not signed and ratified by all EAC partner states by September 30, Kenya stands to lose its market to the EU, having significant impact on her economy,” the Industry, Trade and Cooperatives ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Adan told the EU Parliament of the proposed EAC Heads of State Summit that will provide further impetus to the deal.
If the deal is not reached, Kenya will be placed under the General System Preference trade regime after October 1, where goods are charged a duty of between five per cent and 22 per cent on her exports to the EU.

Source : www.the-star.co.ke
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