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Rwanda and Kenya have signed the EPA with the European Union

Rwanda and Kenya have signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU even as two of its EAC partners say the deal does not auger well for the region’s economies.

The move signals a start of the EAC Partner States securing the Duty Free Quota Free market access to the EU.

“Trade Ministers for Kenya and Rwanda have today signed the EAC-EU EPA agreement in Brussels Belgium, pursuant to the EAC Council decision earlier in the year for the EAC to sign the EPA,” Industrialisation Ministry said on Thursday on the Brussels developments.

However, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi are yet to sign, which still poses a challenge of EAC actually enjoying the free market access in the EU.

If they do not sign, Kenya stands to be the biggest loser as its huge exports to EU will attract duties since it is not classified as Least Developed Country (LDC) like her counter parts.

Kenya is aiming to conclude an agreement that will help her continue favourable trade deals with EU and at the same time with EAC without restrictions.

Currently, Kenya is the leading supplier of fresh cut flowers to the EU with an approximate market share of 38 percent.

All eyes will now be on the proposed EAC Heads of State Summit slated for September 8 where the matter is expected to take centre stage on whether to sign and ratify the EPAs or not.

Bujumbura has been wanting the signing to be tied to the sanctions EU imposed on the country last year following the political crisis caused by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s running for a controversial third term.

Jimirasire

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