EAC states sign partnership deal with EU

Workers preparing flowers for export at Chemirei Farm in Kericho. PHOTO | FILE

East African Community member states on Tuesday reached an eleventh-hour agreement with the European Union in a bid to save the Community’s exports to the Union from incurring taxes.

Kenya's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday evening that the two sides signed an agreement following two-day negotiations over three key issues, namely taxes, subsidies and previous agreements affecting trade between the two blocs.

“The three areas that remained outstanding namely: Export Taxes, Export Subsidies and Relationship between Cotonou Agreement and EPAs were all agreed upon in favour of Kenya.


“The successful conclusion of the negotiations will enable Kenya to continue enjoying duty free/quarter free access to the European market,” said a statement from the Ministry.

It means Kenya could start enjoying duty-free exports of fresh vegetables and flowers to the EU markets if it implements the Agreement within the next two months.

But having been signed beyond the deadline date of October 1, it also means that flower exporters will continue pay duty on their exports to the EU for as long as the country prepares to ratify the deal.

The two sides had failed to agree on what language to use in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs). They had also failed to agree on whether the EAC members had the freedom to introduce taxes on imports from the EU when they deem fit to do so.