The ministerial meeting on EU- EAC EPA negotiations will be held on from 28th to 30th January 2014 in Brussels, where Ministers will be expected to give political guidance for further work at technical level.
The is need to speed up the process of the negotiations since there are grave risks that are facing the flower industry and Kenya at large if the agreement is not signed by October 2014. Currently Kenya enjoys quota free and duty free export of flowers to EU and without the EPA, GSP tariffs will be applied. As a result, Kenya will not be able to compete on price and market share will be lost. Countries like Colombia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia will continue to enjoy their duty free status, after October 1, 2014. EU is Kenya’s single largest trading block representing 22% of all exports and 82% of flower exports.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht recently firmly recalled that ACP countries benefiting from interim duty-free quota-free access without having ratified their FEPAs have until 1 October 2014 to regularize their situation in order to maintain their free access to the EU past that date. There will be no new bridging measure enforced by the EU. EPAs negotiations can however continue after October 2014.