Working Papers

Simulating UK-Africa Trade Liberalisation: Kenya

Simulating UK-Africa Trade Liberalisation: Kenya

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21 Dec 2018

Author(s): John Stuart

With the United Kingdom set to exit the European Union (EU) in the near future, current news is focusing on the future UK-EU trade relationship. For the UK’s global trade partners, this is very important to appraise.

In August 2018, UK Prime Minister Theresa May took a tour of the three major Sub-Saharan African Anglophone economies: South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. During the course of this visit, she committed the post-Brexit UK to accommodating Kenya’s imports at the free trade level of access.

This commitment is understandable, since with the UK is set to exit the EU in the near future, some forms of replacement trade agreements will need to be in place to strengthen the UK’s trading relationships with its African trading partners. This paper takes this logic one step further and conducts a hypothetical analysis of complete post-Brexit liberalisation – or the establishment of a free trade area – between Kenya (and the EAC) and the UK.

The assumption is made that the UK will leave the EU common market and will therefore be in a position to negotiate new trade agreements with its non-EU trading partners. It therefore seems quite possible that the UK would be open to concluding new preferential trade agreements with its main trading partners in Africa. The purpose is not to analyse every aspect of such a potential arrangement with Kenya – that would be a large undertaking – but rather to simulate the arrangement using quantitative techniques.


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