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The EU will now hold direct talks with Kenya on a trade deal

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The EU will now hold direct talks with Kenya on a trade deal

European Council President Charles Michel (right) welcomes Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta before a meeting at the European Council headquarters in Brussels on June 21, 2021. PHOTO | AFP

The European Union will involve Kenya directly in signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) after other members of the East African Community do not support the agreement.

EU Executive Vice President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said the bloc will engage with Kenya after EAC members allow individual countries that are ready to enter into an agreement with the EU to continue.

Negotiations for the EPA concluded in 2014, but the agreement has not entered into force pending signatures and ratification by all CAO members.

“The EU will now engage with Kenya, which has already signed and ratified the regional EPA, on the modalities for its implementation. The EPA is an important trade and development tool and its implementation with Kenya would be a fundamental pillar for regional economic integration, ”said Mr. Dombrovskis.

The official said the EU now expects other members of the East African Community to sign and ratify the EPA after the agreement with Kenya is concluded.

The official spoke in Brussels after meeting with a Kenyan trade delegation led by Industrialization, Trade and Business Development CS Betty Maina and the East African Community and Regional Development CS Adan Mohamed, who had accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta during his official visit to the headquarters of the European Union.

Kenya and Rwanda were the only two countries in the region to sign the EPA agreement with Europe in 2016 after Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi refused to back it, forcing Nairobi to have a temporary agreement with the EU to allow access. duty-free of your goods to the expansive market.

Previously, it was a prerequisite that the EPA agreement be endorsed by all EAC member states. Generally, horticultural products from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania enjoy preferential conditions.

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