Commodities

State allays farmer fears with 25pc UK agriculture goods tax

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Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Betty C. Maina speaking at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, JKIA on Monday, January 18, 2021. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Finished agricultural product imports from United Kingdom will attract a 25 percent duty under the Kenya-UK trade pact as the government moves to protect farmers from unfair competition from cheap European produce.
  • Trade Principle Secretary Johnson Weru said the government has listed over 1,000 items from the UK that will attract duty.

Finished agricultural product imports from United Kingdom will attract a 25 percent duty under the Kenya-UK trade pact as the government moves to protect farmers from unfair competition from cheap European produce.

Trade Principle Secretary Johnson Weru said the government has listed over 1,000 items from the UK that will attract duty, allaying fears that the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with UK will affect small scale farmers who cannot compete with foreign goods.

“The Kenya government has listed over 1,000 items from UK that will attract a 25 per cent import duty with most being agricultural produce to protect local farmers from unfair competition,” said the PS.

He, however, said importation of raw material such as sugar beet for processing in the country will not attract duty, after sugar millers raised concern that shipping in of the finished sweetener will hit farmers.

Rai Group chairman Jaswant Rai said cane farmers cannot compete with cheap beet sugar—of which the UK is the largest producer—which is in the list of the items that will access the local market.

A section of small-scale farmers and advocacy groups went to court to challenge the implementation of the Kenya-UK Economic Partnership Agreement citing lack of public participation.

MPs last week also took issue with a clause in the EPA agreement that bars Parliament from amending or expressing reservations on the pact.

At a meeting with various stakeholders and Trade ministry officials on Thursday, the MPs claimed that the clause in the EPA erodes the country’s sovereignty and demanded that Parliament be allowed to either amend or express reservation on the trade deal.