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Kenya, South Korea sign a free trade agreement

Kenya and South Korea have signed an agreement that will lead to a free trade agreement between the two countries.

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 Sh60 billion ($500 million) compared to Kenya’s exports to Korea which stands at Sh3 billion ($25 million).

During the 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 immediately.

The two ministers agreed to conclude a Trade and Investment Promotion Framework that will be signed by January 31 next year.

Also, the signed deal I expected to address the challenges hindering the smooth flow of trade, especially on Kenyan products such as coffee, tea, avocados and avocado products, cut flowers, nuts and fresh vegetables.

They 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) to improve trade logistics between the two countries, which will involve technical support, the opening of a Kenya International Trade Agency (KITA) office in Seoul and establishment of Kenyan warehouses for selling products in Seoul and Busan, Korea.

At the same meeting, the two leaders agreed on joint investments in the Kenyan Special Economic Zones at the Konza Technopolis, Dongo Kundu, Naivasha, Sagana, and the Nairobi International Financial Centre.

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Kenya further invited Korean companies to participate in the Kenya International Investment Conference in Nairobi in the first quarter of next year.
The meeting came as a follow-up of the earlier summit between President William Ruto, and South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yool, in Seoul on Wednesday.
President Ruto had earlier secured an Sh120 billion deal with the South Korean government, supporting his various development projects.

The president said that Kenya will work with South Korea to develop manufacturing plants in the Konza Technopolis, an export promotion zone dedicated to pharmaceutical manufacturing, vaccine production, and value addition in agriculture.

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