Kenya's decision to ratify the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with trhe European Union (EU) will not in any way undermine relations between Kenya and other partner states in the East African Community (EAC), says Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Trade Adan Mohammed.
Kenya had to safeguard its market interest if exports were to continue accessing the European market on a duty-free basis, he said here Monday, noting that of the 27 countries with EPAs with the EU, only the EAC member states had taken so much time to ratify the agreement.
Earlier this month, Kenya and Rwanda ratified the deal. However, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi have asked for more time to scrutinize the EPA to assess its effects on their economies.
Mohammed said Kenya ratifying the document before the other EAC states would not in any way hurt relations with other partner states. He added that Kenya had to safeguard its market interests given that it is the only country not classified as a least developed country (LDC) meaning that it faced duty rates as high as 22 per cent being imposed on its exports.
Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda are worried that the agreement will have a negative impact on the agriculture sector and light industries undermining the growth of their economies.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.