Kenya’s flower sector on Tuesday called for the ratification of the Kenya-UK trade agreement in order to boost exports.

Clement Tulezi, CEO of Kenya Flower Council (KFC), said that the country’s exports of cut flowers and ornaments to Britain could be subject to additional tariffs by the end of this year if the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is not ratified by Kenya’s parliament.

“The trade agreement ensures that all cut flowers and ornamental companies in Kenya can continue to benefit from quota and duty-free access to the UK market,” Tulezi said in a statement.

According to government data, cut flowers are now Kenya’s second largest export after tea, contributing around 1.06 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and providing employment to over 200,000 people directly and an estimated two million indirectly.

Last week, Britain’s legislators endorsed the trade deal with Kenya after completing scrutiny of the document, paving the way for its enforcement once the Kenyan counterparts approved it.

Tulezi said that if the EPA is not brought into effect, tariffs on imports from Kenya would revert to the most favored nation (MFN) rates.

“This would lead to the imposition of duties on some of our imports from Kenya and more particularly at a rate of 8 percent on cut flowers. For 2021, the amount of duty that would be on Kenya’s agricultural exports to the UK is estimated to be 2.6 billion shillings (24 million U.S. dollars) if the EPA is not ratified in time,” he added.

Tulezi observed that under the bilateral trade pact, Kenya’s cut flowers exports will remain competitive and certainty in terms of trade will encourage investment, leading to more production and more jobs. Enditem

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