On a visit to Kenya in August 2018, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the country would retain duty-free access to UK markets even after Brexit. That assurance hasn’t been enough to allay fears of the impact of Brexit on Kenya’s flower exporters.
According to the Kenya Flower Council, the country is the leading exporter of roses to the EU, with a market share of about 38%. About half of that is sold through the Dutch Auctions.
It will likely take the UK a long time to be able to replicate this infrastructure, says Aleydis Nissen, an expert on Kenyan floriculture who has been a visiting researcher at the University of Nairobi.
The odds of a No Deal Brexit have receded in some minds after the EU granted an extension until October. Yet there is still no clarity on the content of any deal, or on why the elusive agreement has become politically possible by tacking a few more months onto the calendar.
Kenyan flower exporters currently enjoy zero tariffs on cut flowers sold to the EU. WTO tariffs would apply to Kenyan imports to the UK in the case of a No Deal Brexit, meaning that roses would immediately become more expensive. The Traidcraft Exchange and the Fairtrade Foundation say that Kenya could face WTO tariffs of between 8.5% and 12%.