Kenya drifting from EAC members as it inches towards EPA deal
Experts in Uganda have expressed concerns that Kenya’s signing of the EPA with Europe will jeopardize the East African regional integration efforts. Kenya would be acting in its individual capacity, bypassing input from the countries forming the East African Community (EAC).
Kenya’s deputy President, William Ruto, promised to strike a deal within two months to ensure a multi-billion shilling’s worth of exports to Europe. The stakes are high for Kenya: The country stands to lose $1.2 billion from its most lucrative markets – mainly flowers and fish – if punitive taxes are introduced.
Under the East African Customs Management Act, trade negotiations usually require coordinated action of five member states, an act which Ugandan experts believe would be breached.
Jane Nalunga, Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiation Institute (SEATINI) Uganda Country director said EPAs can only be signed as a block. “Kenya cant sign alone.” They added that Ugandan authorities are not prepared to be rushed into signing an agreement that does not benefit their people.
Kenya’s move to sign EPAs worries EAC states, New Vision - 1 June 2013