The International Trade Committee of the European Parliament (INTA Committee) has adopted the Recommendation for an early non- objection to the Commission Delegated Act reinstating Kenya on duty-free access to the EU market under the Market Access Regulation (MAR.
According to Union Fleurs where KFC is a Member, if all things go well in Brussels in the next 2 weeks, there is now a possibility that Kenya could again benefit from duty-free access to the EU market by end of 2014 under the MAR.
The recommendation will be announced to the European Parliament Plenary during its session of 15-18 December. For the Recommendation to be possibly objected, it would require that either a political group or at least 40 Member of Parliaments raise an objection within 24 hours. If so, the Recommendation would then be put to the vote of the European Parliament Plenary, requiring a majority of the 751 Member of Parliaments to be either approved or rejected. If no Member of Parliament objects there, the Delegated Act will be deemed ‘approved’ (i.e. non-objected) by the European Parliament. It is now scheduled that the Council will formally express its non-objection to the Delegated Act on 17 December 2014.
These procedural steps, if smoothly completed in the next 2 weeks, will therefore enable to shorten the 2 months scrutiny period by both the European Parliament and the Council that was officially required. As both institutions will have formally announced their non-objection already by 18 December 2014, the internal EU legal process would then be deemed finalized.
Accordingly, the Delegated Act reinstating Kenya on the MAR would be published in the EU Official Journal by the end of December 2014 and enter into force the next day.
Even though there are still no firm guarantees at this stage that the outcome of this process will be positive, the results of the vote in the INTA Committee, definitely reflects how keen the very large majority of the Member of Parliaments sitting in this Committee from all political horizons is to see Kenya benefit again from duty-free access as quickly as possible and offer “an early present to exporters of cut flowers for Valentine’s Day, the flower industry’s peak sale season.”
These positive developments have certainly been made possible thanks to the joint of efforts of Union Fleurs and the Kenya Flower Council. Since the initialing of the EU-EAC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) mid-October, Union Fleurs has continued to closely monitor the internal process at EU level aiming to reinstate duty-free access for all Kenyan exports to the EU market and has repeatedly drawn the attention of the EU decision makers in Brussels of the necessity to accelerate the process as much as possible, in particular in view of Valentine’s day shipment peaks that are so crucial for the flower industry both on the Kenyan and EU sides. There is no doubt that the efforts have borne fruit and have been instrumental in securing these latest positive developments in Brussels.
Meanwhile, and until further notice, all imports into the EU of cut flowers and other floriculture products from Kenya will continue to fall under GSP preferential duties as it is the case since 1 October 2014.