The Council today adopted a decision on the signing of the EU-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement, which will boost trade in goods and create new economic opportunities, with targeted cooperation to enhance Kenya’s economic development.
The Council and the Commission made a joint statement on the occasion of the adoption of the Council Decision.
This agreement 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 agreement 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 will have 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 agreement is signed, and EP gives its consent, the agreement 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.
On 17 February 2022, the EU and Kenya signed a Joint Statement at the margins of the EU-AU Summit agreeing to advance negotiations on the EU-Kenya EPA, which will remain open for other EAC Partners States. Negotiations were concluded on 24 May 2023 at technical level, and on 19 June 2023 at political level.
On 28 September 2023, the Commission submitted its proposals for Council Decisions on the signing and the conclusion of the EU-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement, together with the text of the Agreement.