GABRIELE RUGANI, The Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kenya: an example of “variable geometry” approach

ABSTRACT – The contribution takes into consideration the EU-Kenya EPA, signed on 18 December 2023 and defined by the European Commission as the “most ambitious” trade deal between the EU and a developing country when it comes to sustainability provisions. The article, preliminarily, gives an overview of EU trade agreements, with particular reference to EPAs, and of trade relationships between the EU and Kenya, highlighting their mutual interest in concluding an EPA. Then, it focuses on the key moments of the process leading to an agreement: more specifically, the failure of a previous instrument, the EU-EAC EPA, an example of “bloc-to-bloc” agreement; and the decision to adopt a “variable geometry” approach, negotiating an EU-Kenya EPA open for other EAC countries to join later. At that point, the contribution analyses some of the key elements of the EU-Kenya EPA: in particular, the asymmetric removal of tariffs; the dispute avoidance and settlement mechanisms; and the “Trade and Sustainable Development” provisions. Finally, some concluding considerations will be made.


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