Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed, has called for the speedy conclusion of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU).
Speaking during a meeting with the European Union Managing Director for Africa, Nick Westcott, at the UN Headquarters in New York, Amb. Mohamed underlined the need to conclude negotiations on outstanding issues ahead of the 1 October, 2014, deadline, Kenya’s foreign ministry said in a news dispatch from New York.
“A meeting of senior officials should be held as soon as possible, preferably next week, to finalize negotiations on outstanding issues,” said Mohamed.
During the meeting, the Mohamed and Westcott agreed that the next round of negotiations should be based on the understanding and text that was reached during discussions held in Brussels on 15 September, 2014.
Endorsing the need to finalize negotiations before the deadline, Mr. Westcott said the East African Community should have a common position based on the outcome in Brussels, adding that he is committed to working towards a mutually-beneficial agreement.
Currently, Kenya enjoys duty free, quota free access to the European Union market but this is set to change if an Economic Partnership Agreement is not in place by 1st October this year.
The present arrangement between EU and EAC is against World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations and the negotiations for EPA are intended to make trade relations between EU and Kenya, and the East African Community in general, WTO compliant.
At the expiry of the 1st October which is set in a regulation of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, EAC exports will fall under the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences.