Kenya and the UK signed a trade deal on Tuesday as the two countries look to step up post-Brexit trade links.
The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) grants Kenya continued duty-free access to the UK while British exporters can expect a gradual reduction in tariffs on certain products.
The agreement, signed in London, should replicate the trade relationship that the partners enjoyed under existing European Union arrangements while setting the stage for a regional agreement with the East African Community (EAC).
“Kenya is our largest trading partner in the region, 72nd globally, our biggest source of tea and certain vegetables, and an important supplier of cut flowers. We expect that to grow with the EPA providing continuity in trading arrangements and reassurance to investors,” the UK High Commission in Kenya told African Business.
The UK is one of Kenya’s top-five trading partners. In 2019, Kenya exported $162m worth of tea, coffee and spices to the UK, $106m of vegetables, and $72m of live trees, plants and flowers.
The UK market accounts for 43% of total exports of vegetables from Kenya as well as at least 9% of cut flowers.
Around 2,500 UK businesses export goods – mostly machinery, electronics, and technical equipment – to Kenya each year.
British exporters can expect fewer tariffs in sectors where Kenya does not have a thriving local industry, sources tell African Business.
The deal also recognises the importance of the wider region, and it is open for other members of the EAC to join, the UK government said.
The UK has signed six such deals in Africa over the past two years, covering 14 countries.
The government is on a global trade and investment drive as it seeks to expand the UK’s trade portfolio after leaving the European Union. The UK and EU are currently mired in negotiations over a new trade deal which will replace their existing arrangements.