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Flower exports to enjoy duty-free status to EU

19 December 2014, 10:00

Nairobi - Kenya's flowers and floriculture products exported to the European Union (EU) are expected to be reinstated by end of the year to enjoy duty-free status, Kenya's flower lobby said on Thursday.

Kenya Flower Council (KFC) CEO Jane Ngige said this follows the non-objection by the European Parliament on regulation that re- inserts Kenya on the list of beneficiary countries that will enjoy duty free access to the EU market.

"This comes as a huge relief for Kenya's floriculture sector and for all operators and businesses involved in the trade," Ngige said in statement.

Since Oct. 1, Kenya's flower exports to the EU market have attracted import duties of between 5 and 8.5 percent.

"This was due to the delay in finalizing an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the East African Community (EAC) member states," Ngige said. "What now remains to be done is the formal publication of Kenya's duty free status in the EU Official Journal of the Commission of Delegated Regulation. "

Also read: Flower farms threaten to relocate over new EU taxes

"We expect this final formal step to be completed before Dec. 31, meaning that Kenya can start the New Year with a renewed duty- free access to the EU market," the CEO said, adding that the additional costs associated with the tariffs have had to be absorbed by the floriculture sector in order to remain competitive in EU markets.

"We therefore welcome the EU's timely efforts to fast-track Kenya's reinstatement on duty-free status for its exports in time for Valentine's Day 2015, the flower industry's peak sale season," Ngige said.

Kenya is the major provider of cut flowers to the EU market, and industry data indicates that total exports hit 350 million Euros in 2013, or a 40 percent market share.

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- Xinhua


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