The European Union on Thursday renewed calls for all East African Community member States to sign a regional trade deal that could see Kenya fail to get duty- and quota-free access into the EU.
EU ambassador to Kenya Stefano-Antonio Dejak said the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) deal will avert loss of jobs in the region and boost trade volumes.
The trade deal with the European Union gives EAC member states duty- and quota-free access for their goods to the EU as long as they meet the set health and safety standards. It also gives Europe similar access to the East African Community.
Kenya and Rwanda signed the pact by the February 2 deadline while Tanzania and Uganda have requested more time to review the trade deal. Burundi has said it will not sign after the EU questioned its human rights records.
“Hopefully the EPA will in due time be signed by the EAC member States... it provides for specific instruments to make sure that the trade volumes between the EU and the region grow,” the EU ambassador said during an event to mark Europe Day.
The EPAs deal needs approval from all members of the EAC bloc.