Trade Issues With EU Top Agenda for Nairobi Meeting

Kenya is hosting a conference on Tuesday that brings together 79 developing nations to discuss trade and economic concerns with the European Union.

A worker arranges roses for export to the European market at the Maridadi flowers warehouse in Naivasha on April 19, 2010. Kenya has signed a trade deal with Nigeria that will see the country export several farm products, including tea, flowers to the West African nation. FILE/REUTERS

A worker arranges roses for export to the European market at the Maridadi flowers warehouse in Naivasha on April 19, 2010. Kenya will host conference on June 17, 2014, that brings together 79 developing nations to discuss trade and economic concerns with the European Union. FILE / REUTERS REUTERS

During the four-day meeting, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are expected to discuss market access of agricultural commodities to Europe.

In particular, ACP countries are looking to protect preferential treatment for their cotton, sugar and banana exports.

Further, a new aid-disbursement programme will also be on the agenda. Under the cooperation framework, development support is provided to ACP countries.

The last European Development Fund programme expired last year and delegates are expected to hash out details of the next programme.

PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT

Under the previous programme, Kenya received an estimated Sh35.1 billion (399.4 million euros) in development assistance.

Cooperation between the EU and ACP countries is taking place under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement, which seeks to eradicate poverty and gradually integrate the developing nations into the world economy.

ACP countries are currently negotiating new Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EU with the deadline for conclusion of EPA talks set for October 2014. The agreements are meant to guarantee preferential treatment to the EU market.

Kenya is currently in talks about the EPAs jointly with other partner states of the East African Community (EAC). There are concerns that failure to strike a deal could see Kenya lose a large market for key exports such as horticulture.

– Daily Nation