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Kenya-UK ties look up post-Brexit

British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey is optimistic that Kenya will significantly benefit from trade deals with UK as soon as the country exits from the European Union (EU).

Hailey, while addressing the business community on Tuesday, during the official launch of a branch of the new British Chamber of Commerce Kenya (BCCK) in Mombasa, said Kenya-UK trade relationship will be bolstered by Brexit.

He stated that restrictions that came with membership in a trade bloc like the EU barred the country from entering into lucrative deals with like-minded countries.

Hailey said Brexit will offer Kenya an opportunity to grow agriculture and tourism sector. “We want to see more links between UK and Kenyan business; more partnerships, more jobs, and a better business environment.

Once the process of exiting is complete, the UK will negotiate new trade deals with Kenya, especially for agricultural products including tea and flowers, which we expect will be better for the country,” said Hailey.

Britain voted to leave the EU in June last year, sending shockwaves across world markets. The UK is the third largest importer of Kenyan tea, importing 45 million kilogrammes in 2015.

Hailey announced opening of a new UK Visa Application Centre in Mombasa. The new facility will provide an additional option to the Nairobi centre. He said the newly-launched BCCK will promote trade links between Kenya and the UK.

“The Chamber represents over 200 members, from 100 companies down to individual consultants. Its membership includes some of the largest taxpayers in Kenya, and provides employment to more than 200,000 people in the country,” said David MacKay, chairman of the Coast branch.

The Chapter will represent, support and advocate on behalf of British business in the Coastal region across a wide range of sectors including Tourism, Agri-business, Shipping, Infrastructure and Transport.

The UK Government is investing heavily in the region, with around Sh10 billion aimed at creating jobs, developing infrastructure and strengthening investment climate at the Coast. Bilateral trade between Kenya and the UK is in excess of Sh133 billion per year.

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