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EU - Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement

Date: 18/12/2023


  • The Agreement will boost trade in goods and create new economic opportunities.
  • It includes specific cooperation to boost Kenya's economic development.
  • The Secretary of State for Trade signed the agreement, highlighting that it is the EU's most ambitious agreement with an African country on climate protection and labour rights.
  • During the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, three trade agreements have been signed - with New Zealand, Chile and Kenya - which will boost market diversification.
  • The expansion and diversification of the EU's trade relations has been one of the main priorities of the Spanish Presidency.
  • Kenya is one of the priority countries for action within the trade policy strategy 'Horizon Africa' of the Secretary of State for Trade.

 The Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union today achieved a new milestone with the signature of the EU-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement. The main objective of the Agreement is to liberalise trade between the EU and Kenya, eliminating tariffs and creating new opportunities. In addition, a chapter dedicated to cooperation to improve the competitiveness of the Kenyan economy has been included. 

The Agreement was signed in Nairobi, with Rebecca Miano, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Investment, Trade and Industry, and Xiana Méndez, Kenya's Secretary of State for Trade, and Henriette Geiger, EU Ambassador to Kenya, on behalf of the European Union. The signing ceremony was also attended by Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and William Ruto, President of Kenya.

For the Secretary of State for Trade: "The agreement, which will be a major boost for trade in goods, contains important elements of development and cooperation. It is the EU's most ambitious agreement with an African country on sustainability. With this agreement we are contributing to the expansion and diversification of EU trade relations, one of the key priorities of the Spanish Presidency.

A pioneering agreement on sustainability

The main objective of the Economic Partnership Agreement is to liberalise trade between the EU and Kenya. The agreement will provide free access to the European Union market by eliminating tariffs and quotas on all Kenyan exports of goods, except arms.

For its part, Kenya, taking into account the different levels of development, will open its market partially and gradually to EU imports. Thus, Kenya will benefit from transitional periods and the exclusion of sensitive products from liberalisation.

The EU-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement is the first agreement with a developing country implementing the EU's new approach to trade and sustainable development. The agreement contains important sustainability commitments, including binding provisions on labour, gender equality, as well as environment and climate change. It is the EU's most ambitious agreement with an African country in this area.

The agreement aims to bilaterally implement with Kenya the provisions of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and the East African Community (EAC) partner states, whose negotiations were concluded in 2014 but which could not enter into force as it was not approved and ratified by all EAC members. The new EU-Kenya agreement will be open for accession by the other EAC countries.

After signature, the text will be transmitted to the European Parliament for approval. The agreement will enter into force when Kenya and the EU ratify it.

Trade policy milestones of the Spanish Presidency

One of the main priorities during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union has been to make progress in the negotiations of free trade agreements initiated and in the signing of those concluded.

With this EU-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement, the Spanish Presidency has managed to conclude the signing of three bilateral trade agreements: the Modernisation Agreement with Chile, which was signed on 13 December, and the Free Trade Agreement with New Zealand, signed in July.

These agreements will enhance the diversification of supply chains and export markets, as well as generate new trade and investment opportunities.

Africa, a priority region for the EU and Spain

Kenya is one of the priority countries within the 'Horizon Africa' strategy that marks the trade and investment policy of the Secretary of State for Trade with the African continent.

This 'Horizon Africa' strategy, which was launched in 2020, has recently been updated. The aim is to continue increasing the presence of Spanish companies and promote investments in the African continent through two axes: institutional and financial support. In addition, one of the novelties introduced in this revision has been to prioritise projects linked to green transition and circular economy.

Another of the purposes of updating this strategy has been its alignment with the European Union's 'Global Gateway' initiative, which promotes private investment in projects of interest to African countries linked to the development of physical infrastructures in the digital, climate and energy, transport, health, education and research sectors. It is also framed to ensure economic security in the face of uncertainties in the global geopolitical context, as well as to develop stronger value chains in Africa.

Source: Ministerio de Economía, Comercio y Empresa

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