A global assembly of legislators from 27 European Union (EU) states kicks off in Nairobi Monday, providing Kenya with yet another platform to discuss the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
Also attending the 32nd Session of ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) are lawmakers and parliamentary officials drawn from 79 countries in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP).
President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to preside over the opening ceremony of the high level meeting, which will be hosted for the first time on Kenyan soil.
The EPA gives East African Community (EAC) member states duty and quota-free access of their goods to the EU markets as long as they meet set health and safety standards.
The EPA needs to be approved by all EAC member states for it to take effect.
Currently, only Rwanda and Kenya have signed the deal with the EU. The EU parliament has since extended the signing deadline to February.
If the EPA is not ratified by the February 2017 deadline set by the European Union, Kenyan exports to the economic bloc will be subject to duties, eroding their competitive edge.
Aside from the EPA, the forum is also expected to discuss resettlement of refugees in their home countries and presidential term limits.
“There is strong international and domestic support for presidential term limits and it would make for interesting debate at ACP-EU plenary,” said Joyce Laboso, leader of the Kenyan delegation.
The forum will also feature debates on ‘The Demographic Growth: Challenges and Opportunities’ and ‘The Impact of Illicit Financial Flows on Development Finance’, coming in the wake of revelations through Bahama and Panama leaks.