Trade Talks On Tariffs With EU Collapse

Kenyan horticulture and flower exporters face increased taxation after collapse of trade talks between the East African Community and the European Union (EU).

East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie. Mrs Kandie did not respond to questions sent through her personal assistant Kaplich Barsito. PHOTO/FILE

The aborted discussions known as Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), could see local products attract tariffs of up to 20 per cent on exports to Europe notably fresh produce unless consensus is reached at the next round of talks planned for next March.

The three-day talks in Brussels last week collapsed on the basis of duties and export taxes on Article 16 (most favoured nation).

The discussions also failed to agree on the article on relations with the Cotonou Agreement (non- execution clause).

“The ministerial meeting saw agreement on some issues but consensus could not be built on others with some issues such Rules of Origin slated for further discussions,” said a statement from EAC headquarters in Arusha.

The EAC delegation was led by Mrs Phyllis Kandie, chairperson of the EAC council of ministers while the EU delegation was led by the Trade Commissioner, Mr Karel De Gucht. Mrs Kandie did not respond to questions sent through her personal assistant Kaplich Barsito.

“Both parties noted that further discussions on rules of origin and agriculture still need to be held at the technical level to be ironed out.

Another meeting will be held in March to thrush out issues hampering conclusion of the EPAs,” it added.

Flower growers said inconclusive trade talks have affected planning with most of them cutting back on investments.

– Daily Nation