NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 24 – Kenya and South Korea have agreed on a roadmap that will lead to a free trade agreement between the two countries.
In bilateral talks between South Korean Trade minister Dukgeun Ahn and his Kenyan counterpart Moses Kuria, the two parties agreed to enter into Free Trade Agreement negotiations with immediate effect.
Even as the negotiations progress, the two ministers agreed to conclude a Trade and Investment Promotion Framework that will be signed by January 31 next year. The deal will address the challenges that hinder smooth flow of trade especially on Kenyan products such as coffee, tea, avocados and avocado products, cut flowers, nuts and fresh vegetables.
The Trade and Investment Promotion Framework is expected to address the trade imbalance that hugely favours South Korea whose exports’ worth to Kenya stands at $500 million (Ksh60 billion) compared to Kenya’s exports to Korea at $25 million (Ksh3 billion).
To improve trade logistics between the two countries, the two ministers agreed to work together to establish a framework of cooperation between the Kenya Exports Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA) and the Korean Trade Agency (KOTRA) that will involve technical support, opening of a Kenya International Trade Agency (KITA) office in Seoul and establishment of Kenyan warehouses for selling products in Seoul and Busan, Korea.
During the meeting, Kenya and South Korea agreed on joint investments in the Kenyan Special Economic Zones at the Konza Technopolis, Dongo Kundu, Naivasha, Sagana and the Nairobi International Financial Centre.
Kenya further invited Korean companies to participate in the Kenya International Investment Conference in Nairobi in the first quarter of next year.
The meeting between the two ministers was a follow up of the earlier summit between President William Ruto and his host, South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yool, in Seoul on Wednesday, November 23.