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UK suspends tariff for flower exports

Kenya will be granted tariff-free exports of cut flowers to the United Kingdom for the next two years.

The United Kingdom has temporarily removed Global Tariff for cut flowers, with the aim of making trade easier and cheaper for growers in East Africa and beyond.

This means that business will be blooming with unlimited quantities of flowers that can now be exported to the UK at zero percent tariff.

The zero tariff allows for unlimited quantities of flowers to enter the UK, particularly if they transit through a third country or the flower auctions in the Netherlands, where previously an 8 percent UK Global Tariff (UKGT) would apply.

Most East African flower growers transport their blooms via third countries or auction houses before they arrive in the UK.

UK consumers could win big too on price, seasonality, and variety.

In a statement by the British High Commissioner, the suspension of 8 percent duty on cut flowers applies across the world, but will be a big win for major flower growing regions in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda

The duty suspension will remain in place for two years from 11th April 2024 to 30th June 2026.

“His Majesty Trade Commissioner for Africa, John Humphrey, said that the UK’s relationship with East Africa is rooted in mutually beneficial trade and thus this additional flower power will allow trade to bloom. We go far when we go together in this case, we grow far when we grow together”, he added, further reinforcing the UK’s commitment to the expansion of trade in East Africa.

The decision strengthens the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership – an ambitious five-year agreement that is unlocking mutual benefits for the UK and Kenya.

It also bolsters the UK-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement, which came into force in March 2021 and already saves Kenyan exporters over Sh1.5bn (£10m pounds), every year in duties on products such, as green beans and cut flowers.

Total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and Kenya was Sh 288b (1.4 billion pounds) in the four quarters to the end of 3rd quarter of 2023, an increase of 11.1% , while the total UK exports to Kenya amounted to Ksh 103.7 B (635 million pounds) during the same period an increase of 6.5%.

Total UK imports from Kenya amounted to Sh125.8 b (771 million pounds) in the four quarters to the end of 3rd quarter of 2023 an increase of 15.1%.

In 2023, around 400 UK VAT-registered businesses imported goods from Kenya while two years ago in 2022 Kenya was ranked as the fourth biggest exporter of cut flowers in the world accounting for 6% of global cut flower exports.

By Wangari Ndirangu

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