The UK has moved a step closer to signing a sixth bilateral trade deal in Africa today, which will allow British and Kenyan companies to expand on trade already worth £1.4 billion (KES 200 billion) a year.
The UK-Kenya Free Trade Agreement, once signed, will guarantee tariff-free access to both markets. It was agreed during a virtual meeting of senior Government of Kenya Cabinet Secretaries and UK Government Ministers on Tuesday.
For Kenya, the event was led by Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiangi and Betty Maina, while for the UK it was led by the Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Kenya, Theo Clarke.
As the largest economy in the region and amongst the top ten in Africa, trade with Kenya is important to the UK and also opens up potential for further deals with the East African Community trade block. The UK is already Kenya’s fifth largest export destination. Kenya’s biggest imports from the UK include vehicles, pharmaceuticals and paper – worth almost £800 million (KES 133 billion) – while the UK’s biggest imports include tea, coffee, vegetables, and flowers.
Jane Marriott, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to conclude this trade agreement, which lays the foundations to expand our trade in future. “Whether it is in tea, horticulture, pharmaceuticals, or vehicles, trade between our countries continues to grow. It’s fantastic we’ve been able to complete negotiations so quickly and we look forward to working with the Government of Kenya to build on this in the years ahead.”
The UK’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, said: “The UK will always be a champion of liberal free trade that prioritises the mutual
benefits of doing business with integrity. “This trade deal will build on the UK and Kenya’s historic ties and is the perfect
platform to increase our trading partnership in future.”
The UK’s International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena, said: “I’m delighted we’ve reached a trade agreement with Kenya. This deal gives
businesses the certainty that they’ll be able to continue trading as they do now, supporting jobs and livelihoods in both our countries. “I look forward to forging further trade ties with Kenya – the largest economy in the region – and working with other East African countries to agree trade continuity, harnessing free and fair trade to secure shared prosperity for our peoples.” The agreement will be formally signed shortly once it has been subject to formal checks.
Britain has deep ties with Kenya, not just through business, but in security, health and education. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Uhuru Kenyatta agreed a five-year Strategic Partnership between the UK and Kenya in January of this year, which was signed in Downing Street during the Africa Investment Summit.
Notes to Editors
The United Kingdom’s relationship with Kenya is based on deep respect and mutual interest. Through our Strategic Partnership, the UK and Kenya are working together to: promote our mutual prosperity; deliver a more secure and stable world; support sustainable development; respond to climate change; and build on our strong people-to-people links. We are also working closely to
tackle the shared challenge of COVID-19.
The UK-Kenya trade agreement avoids tariffs on key goods imported to the UK each year; 35,000 tons of vegetables, 9% of all flowers and 43% of all tea. More than 150 British companies operate in Kenya. For example, 70% of alltournament-grade dartboards globally are produced in Kenya. UK dartboards manufacturer Nodor Darts in Athi River produces approximately 10k dartboards weekly.