Kenya agrees free trade agreement with Britain

Kenya and United Kingdom have agreed on a free trade agreement, paving way for the deepening of trade relations between the two countries.

A statement released by British High Commission to Kenya noted that Kenya will likely be the sixth bilateral trade deal in Africa, which will allow British and Kenyan companies to expand on trade already worth £1.4 billion (sh200 billion) a year.

“The UK-Kenya Free Trade Agreement, once signed, will guarantee tariff-free access to both markets. It was agreed during a virtual meeting of senior Government of Kenya Cabinet Secretaries and UK Government Ministers on Tuesday”, the statement read in part.

The Kenyan team was led by Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiangi and Betty Maina, while for the UK it was led by the Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Kenya, Theo Clarke.

The UK’s International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena, said “I’m delighted we’ve reached a trade agreement with Kenya. This deal gives businesses the certainty that they’ll be able to continue trading as they do now, supporting jobs and livelihoods in both our countries.”

Kenya’s biggest imports from the UK include vehicles, pharmaceuticals and paper – worth almost £800 million (sh133 billion) – while the UK’s biggest imports include tea, coffee, vegetables, and flowers.

Jane Marriott, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, said “I’m delighted we’ve been able to conclude this trade agreement, which lays the foundations to expand our trade in future. Whether it is in tea, horticulture, pharmaceuticals, or vehicles, trade between our countries continues to grow. It’s fantastic we’ve been able to complete negotiations so quickly and we look forward to working with the Government of Kenya to build on this in the years ahead.”

The UK-Kenya trade agreement avoids tariffs on key goods imported to the UK each year; 35,000 tons of vegetables, nine percent of all flowers and 43 percent of all tea.

More than 150 British companies operate in Kenya. For example, 70 percent of all tournament-grade dartboards globally are produced in Kenya. UK dartboards manufacturer Nodor Darts in Athi River produces approximately 10,000 dartboards weekly.

The statement further noted that the deal includes clauses to allow other East Africa Community states to join in the future.

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