EU restores duty-free access for Kenyan exports

The European Union (EU) has confirmed it has restored duty-free access for Kenyan goods. A statement from the EU said the Kenyan exports started entering the European market without any tariffs from Dec. 25, 2014 after the bloc fast-tracked Kenya's return to the quota-free, duty-free export regime.

"I am very happy to confirm that, as of Christmas Day, Kenyan goods -- cut flowers, fresh produce and much more -- will once again enter the European Union market without tariffs or quota limits," EU Ambassador to Kenya Lodewijk Briet said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Briet said the EU heeded the appeal made at the end of October by President Uhuru Kenyatta to the then EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. He said the move means that 2.2 billion U.S. dollars of Kenya exports that are sold in Europe will remain competitive, and Europe will remain Kenya's largest export market.

The EU is Kenya's biggest trading partner accounting to about 25 percent of the country's total exports. In 2012, Kenya received close to 2.9 billion dollars from the market. The country's main exports to the EU are fresh cut flowers, tea, coffee and vegetables.

On Nov. 14, 2014, the European Commission decided that Kenyan exports should again be exempted from all import duties on the basis of the "Market Access Regulation" (MAR). The European Parliament and the Council thereafter accelerated their respective procedures and approved the Commission's decision, thereby enabling its implementation.

Kenya benefitted from unlimited and free access to the EU market until the expiry of the MAR at the end of September this year.


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