(Xinhua) -- Kenyan and Rwandan trade ministers on
Thursday signed economic partnership agreements with the
European Union (EU) that allows the two countries to export
their agricultural products to Europe without tax.
A statement from Kenya’s ministry of
trade said the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)
in Brussels signals a start of the East Africa Community (EAC)
partner states securing the duty free market access to the EU.
Kenyan Trade Minister Adan Mohamed on
Wednesday appeared at the EU Parliament where the matter to lock
out Kenya from the EU market after Oct. 1 was being
“He made a concerted presentation to
the EU Parliament’s International Trade Committee (INTA) and
assured them of the EAC partner states’ commitment to the
EPA as demonstrated by over nine years of consistent
engagement with the EU leading to the successful conclusion
of the EPA,” the statement said.
All the EAC countries—Kenya, Tanzania,
Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda—have been negotiating the EPA since
“If the EPA is not signed and ratified
by all EAC partner states by Sept. 30, Kenya stands to lose
its market to the EU, having significant impact on her
economy,” the statement said.
The signing of the EPA, which was
scheduled to happen on July 18, did not take place as a result
of a request by some EAC partner states.
There are fears if the deadline of
Oct. 1 for signing the agreement elapses, Kenyan exporters of
horticulture crops to the EU, whose exports account for 38
percent of the European horticultural market, would be forced to
pay duty on the exports, which would make their produce too
expensive to sell.
Kenya has been undertaking high level
bilateral consultations with EAC partner states geared toward
agreeing on alternatives for signing of the EPA over the past