British MPs support the trade deal with Kenya

economy

British MPs support the trade deal with Kenya

Thursday March 4th 2021

British Parliament in session. PHOTO | AFP

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BY CONSTANT MUNDA
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Summary

  • The UK legislature approved the trade agreement with Kenya after reviewing the document, paving the way for its enforcement as soon as Kenyan colleagues approved it.
  • The House of Lords – the British upper house of parliament – completed legislative scrutiny of the treaty, the International Agreements Committee, after a debate on Tuesday.

The UK legislature approved the trade agreement with Kenya after reviewing the document, paving the way for its enforcement as soon as Kenyan colleagues approved it.

The House of Lords – the British upper house of parliament – completed legislative scrutiny of the treaty, the International Agreements Committee, after a debate on Tuesday.

“The UK looks forward to agreeing the entry into force date once Kenya has completed its domestic ratification process,” said a spokesman for the UK High Commission in Nairobi.

The Kenyan legislature initially delayed the debate on the trade agreement and sought more details, while the Kenya Small-Scale Farmer Forum and Econews Africa went to court to stop ratification of the agreement as stakeholders were not fully consulted.

A section of MPs continued to protest Wednesday against a clause preventing them from changing or expressing reservations about the pact, although protocols for such deals do not give parliaments the power to introduce changes to trade agreements during the ratification phase.

During the debate, MEPs voiced concerns that the exclusion of other states from the East African Community of Six Nations (EAC) could disrupt the integration of the bloc they described as “the strongest regional association in Africa”.

Nairobi signed the Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with London on December 8th on behalf of the EAC bloc, before Great Britain left the 27-member bloc of the European Union on December 31st.

“The EPA has had a bumpy ride here (in the UK) and Kenya because of the careless treatment of other EAC members (because) we assumed they were already benefiting from a generalized system of preferences (which gave them duty-free, quote-free access to the UK allows) “Said the Earl of Sandwich (Crossbench), John Montagu, the house.

However, Lord Gerry Grimstone, Minister for Investment at the Department of International Trade, said other EAC countries had been asked to start negotiations on the EAC Secretariat in January 2020 but chose not to participate “for domestic reasons”.

“On this basis, the UK and Kenya have decided to negotiate this agreement to ensure that the discussion is open to all EAC partner states to join. No partner state has chosen to join, but we left the door open, ”Lord Grimstone told the House.

“The deal does not affect our approach to other EAC countries. We remain ambitious in our desire to expand this agreement in the future and we have ensured that the agreement includes a clear accession process. “

With the ratification of the trade agreement, 82.6 percent of UK-based products will be imported after 25 years. The document shows that the 10 percent levy Kenya charges on intermediates will decrease after seven years from the date of ratification of the trade pact, leading to its elimination eight years later.

Kenya, on the other hand, will begin lowering tariffs on finished products (currently billed at 25 percent) after 12 years, leading to an exit 13 years later.

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