Kenya is currently at risk of losing preferential access to European markets
As of next year, this risk will expose the country’s exporters of flowers, fish, fruits and vegetables to high tariffs and logistical problems.
Lodewijk Briët, the European Union Ambassador has indicated that the bloc would remove Kenya from the preferential list again, if the East African Community fails to ratify the new Economic Partnership Agreements by October 2015. The removal of Kenya from the list would result in Kenya accessing the European Union market under the Generalised System of Preferences which results in tariffs of up to 15 per cent. The deadline is apparently not a “must-beat” time limit, according to a quote from the Daily Nation article on the topic:
Negotiations between EU and EAC started in 2002, culminating in the two trading blocs signing an interim EPA in 2007 that ensured duty-free, quota-free access for its products under the Market Access Regulation that will end in October.
Kenya exports flowers to the European Union worth Ksh46.3 billion and vegetables worth Ksh26.5 billion annually resulting in the horticulture sector being one of the most important contributors of foreign exchange. The European Union takes about 40 per cent of Kenya’s fresh produce exports. The horticulture industry has also created job opportunities for about 90 000 Kenyans.
In October 2014, the European Union removed Kenya from its list of duty-free exporters after the East African Community failed to meet the Economic Partnership Agreements deadline which subjected fresh produce to levies of Ksh100 million per week.