Members' Research Service By / April 17, 2018

Economic Partnership Agreement with Kenya (East African Community) [International Agreements in Progress]

The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (the ‘Cotonou Partnership Agreement’) features a provision making it possible for the EU to negotiate different economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with regional ACP sub-groups.

European Union, 2022, EPRS

Written by Eric Pichon (3rd edition, updated on 07.06.2023).

On 19 June 2023, the EU and Kenya concluded negotiations on an economic partnership agreement (EPA). This agreement builds on negotiations for an EPA with the partner states of the East African Community (EAC) – at the time: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda – which were finalised in October 2014. However, the signing of the EU-EAC EPA had been stalled because of discussions within the EAC on the consequences of the EPA for their economies. Except for Kenya, all EAC partner states are least developed countries, and still enjoy duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market. Kenya is the only EAC country to have ratified the agreement, in order not to lose free access to the EU market. The EAC initially envisaged the EU-EAC EPA as a bloc-to-bloc agreement – i.e. the EPA could only enter into force after it had been ratified by all EAC partners. However, the EAC eventually agreed that Kenya enter negotiations to implement a bilateral EPA with the EU. Other EAC countries – including South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which joined the EAC in 2016 and 2022 respectively – can decide to join the agreement. As soon as the EU-Kenya EPA enters into force, it will immediately provide duty-free, quota-free EU market access to all exports from Kenya, combined with partial and gradual opening of the Kenyan market to imports from the EU. The text of the new negotiated agreement includes binding provisions on trade and sustainable development, and a transparent dispute resolution mechanism.

Economic Partnership Agreement between Kenya, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part
Committee responsible:International Trade (INTA) 
Rapporteur:to be appointed

Read the complete briefing on ‘Economic Partnership Agreement with the East African Community‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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