On 18 December, the EU and Kenya signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which will boost trade in goods and create new economic opportunities, with targeted cooperation to enhance Kenya’s economic development.
The signing of this Agreement is a testimony of our shared ambition to further deepen and modernise our relations in the areas of trade, development cooperation and sustainability. Its advanced rules and procedures will not only lead to a significant strengthening of our trade and investment ties but will also contribute to the diversification of Kenya’s economic activities, foster competitiveness and attract more investment.
Xiana Margarida Méndez Bértolo, Secretary of State for Trade of Spain, Presidency-in-Office of the Council of the European Union
The signing ceremony took place in Nairobi, Kenya. The Agreement was signed, on the EU side, by Xiana Margarida Méndez Bértolo, Secretary of State for Trade of Spain and Henriette Geiger, EU Ambassador to Kenya, and, on the Kenyan side, by Rebecca Miano, Cabinet Secretary for Investments, Trade and Industry of Kenya and Musalia Mudavadi, Prime Cabinet Secretary and Foreign Minister of Kenya.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and William Ruto, President of Kenya, witnessed the signing of the Agreement.
Kenya is a long-standing and trusted partner of the European Union. In order to elevate a solid partnership to an even higher level, in June 2021 was launched a Strategic Dialogue, covering a wide range of areas of cooperation.
One of the thematic pillars of the Strategic Dialogue concerns economy, trade and investment. The Economic Partnership Agreement was a key priority under this cluster and is now its first major tangible outcome.
This EPA will provide duty-free, quota-free EU market access to all exports from Kenya as soon as it enters into force, as well as partial and gradual opening of the Kenyan market to imports from the EU.
The EPA includes binding provisions on trade and sustainable development, such as climate and environmental protection and labour rights, and a transparent dispute resolution mechanism. This is the most ambitious economic partnership agreement the EU has signed with a developing country when it comes to sustainability provisions.
The EU is Kenya’s first export destination and second largest trading partner, totalling €3.3 billion of trade in 2022 – an increase of 27% compared to 2018.
Once the European Parliament has given its consent, and the EU and Kenya have notified each other of the completion of their internal legal procedures, the EPA can enter into force.
Negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement between the East African Community and the EU (EAC-EU EPA) were concluded in 2014. Kenya signed and ratified the Agreement in September 2016. The EU and its Member States also signed it in June 2016. However, implementation of the EPA has not been possible because not all EAC partner countries signed and ratified it.
The EAC Summit of 27 February 2021, under the chairmanship of Kenya, reached a decision allowing individual EAC states to implement the EPA. Subsequently, in May 2021, Kenya formally requested to engage with the EU to move forward with the implementation of the Agreement on a bilateral basis.