MPs in fresh bid to ratify Kenya, UK trade deal

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By Shadrack Musumba 

Parliamentary committee on Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development is currently exploring possible ways through which the Economic Partnership Agreement between the UK and Kenya signed in December 2020 can fully be ratified.

The committee met to cast light on the scale of economic development in the treaty between the two countries which resulted from the backdrop of last week’s rejection of ratification motion by the house, citing flawed process.

The Economic Partnership Agreement between the UK and Kenya was signed in December 2020 and has been provisionally applied since January 1, pending the completion of full ratification.

The agreement focuses on facilitating trade in goods, providing Kenya with duty-free and quota-free access to the UK market.

The committee had a meeting with the principal secretary of the aforementioned ministry Ambassador Johnson Weru to shed light on a treaty withdrawn by the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union which was allegedly unfavorable for Kenyan economy.

Kenya and the UK had agreed to explore an economic partnership agreement in line with the ambition of the Strategic Partnership agreed by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

 The talks were based on the initial text of the European Union-East African Community Economic Partnership Agreement (EU-EAC EPA) and are open to all EAC partner states.

 Both partners committed to securing a partnership agreement that encompasses the whole of the EAC, should the other partner states wish to participate in such an agreement.

 The vice chairperson for the committee Wangari Mwaniki who is the MP for Kigumo said such an agreement would provide a transition mechanism for Kenya and enable other EAC partner states to join when they are ready to do so as negotiations with the EAC continue.

 “This will provide the strongest possible platform for the UK, Kenya and ultimately, the entire EAC, to expand their trading, investment, tourism and historical relationships in future with the UK. This will propagate the economy of Kenya high in terms of agribusiness, infrastructural development and textile industry,” said Hon Wangari.

 Hon Adan Ali had also summoned the State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and blue economy to appear before the committee to respond to sensitive queries on fishing by foreign vessels in our exclusive economic zone as stipulated in Articles 54 and 55 of the agreement. 

 “In particular, please speak to the status of Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), the International Treaty of the Food and Agriculture Organization signed in 2009, designed to prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing” Hon Ali posed. 

 Hon Ali added that effective implementation and safeguards mechanisms against unfair trade practices contained therein (PSMA) will prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Mwatate MP Mwadime Andrew called on his peers to sail through the agreement which will see the country export agricultural products creating employment and generating income.

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