UK, Kenya ink deal for tariff-free fresh produce trade

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By Logistics Update Africa Correspondent, 19 November 2020

After months of negotiations, Kenya and the United Kingdom have concluded a Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that will strengthen the relationship between UK importers and Kenyan exporters, while providing Kenyan farmers with the opportunity to expand their presence in the UK after end of the transition period, as published by Perishable Movements Limited (PML).

This is the sixth bilateral trade deal between the UK and Kenya, one currently worth £1.4 billion a year. The UK is, by far, the largest foreign investor in Kenya. The value of British investment in Kenya was estimated at £2.7 billion in 2017 with over 220 UK firms setting up businesses in the country.

PML will continue to provide logistics support to Kenyan exporters and UK importers and have recently expanded their operation to include freight from Kenya in anticipation of the increased demand for temperature-controlled transportation from the region.

Kenya has the largest economy in East Africa and is among the top 10 economies across the continent. It is a major supplier of cut flowers, tea, coffee and fruits such as avocados, mangoes and passion fruit as well as vegetables including sugar snaps, herbs and snow peas, to the UK.

Many of these exported goods have a shelf life that averages 21 days and under, hence ensuring that trading between the countries runs smoothly and without delay is of key importance to PML.

The most imported goods to the UK from Kenya in 2019 were in coffee, tea and spices (£121 million), vegetables (£79 million), live trees and plants and flowers (£54 million). The UK market accounts for 43 percent of total exports of vegetables from Kenya as well as at least 9 percent of cut flowers; this agreement will support Kenyans working in these sectors by maintaining tariff-free market access to the UK. It also guarantees continued market access for UK exporters, who together sold £815 million in goods and services to Kenya last year.

The trade deal means there will be less red-tape for exporters and no increase in price to consumers. The partnership also offers new opportunities for businesses to expand into Europe from the UK post-BREXIT. The trade deal means that PML will continue to be able to handle customs clearance, the tracking of goods and the handling of products through its temperature-controlled bonded warehouse without hindrance after December 31.

Nick Finbow, sales director, PML, said, “We believe this deal will greatly enhance the trade partnership between Kenya and the UK. It will allow Kenyan fresh produce to continue to flow unhindered by duties into the UK, and allow the UK public to continue to purchase and enjoy quality products without increased charges to the UK consumer.”

Kenya-UK EPA will deliver a comprehensive package of benefits, including secure, long-term and predictable market access for East African Community exports and enhanced privileges for agricultural goods, even if they pass through the 27 EU countries. Other members of the EAC trade block will be able to join the agreement when they are ready.

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