The UK has signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with Kenya, in a move that will ensure Kenyan exports can continue to access the UK market duty-free following the end of the Brexit transition period.

The new deal replicates the terms agreed between the European Union and the East African Community (EAC) and includes clauses to allow other East African Community states to join in the future.

The EAC has "cut and sew" rules of origin, which means that fibres, yarns and fabrics may be produced in any country, but cutting and sewing of the finished apparel garments must be formed within the free trade area.

The provisions of the new Economic Partnership Agreement will apply from 1 January 2021.

As one of the largest economies in East Africa, Kenya is an important trading partner for the UK, with its main exports including tea, coffee and spices, vegetables and flowers. Its apparel shipments to the UK were worth just US$1.88m (GBP1.4m) in 2019 according to Comtrade data.

In other steps to ensure the continuity of trade when existing EU agreements no longer apply to the UK, the country will replace the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) with its own version, covering the same countries currently eligible for trade preferences. This includes key clothing suppliers such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The UK imported approximately GBP8bn (US$10.6bn) worth of textiles and apparel products from these GSP eligible countries last year – accounting for around 30% of all textile and apparel imports into the UK.