UK suspends 8pc duty on flowers from East Africa

Thursday April 11 2024

Workers at Equator Flowers Farm in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya pack flowers for export on March 16, 2020. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


Kenya’s cut flower exports to the United Kingdom received a boost after the UK temporarily suspended duty on cut flowers for two years.

The waiver, the UK says, would make trade easier and cheaper for growers in East Africa and beyond.

“The suspension of eight percent duty for cut flowers applies across the world but will be a big win for major flower growing regions in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. The duty suspension will remain in place for two years from 11 April 2024 to 30 June 2026,” the UK statement reads.

The move implies that unlimited quantities of flowers can now be exported to the UK at zero percent tariff, even if they transit via a third country.

Read: Kenya horticulture exports rebound on stronger euro

“The UK’s relationship with East Africa is rooted in mutually beneficial trade. This additional flower power will allow trade to bloom. We go far when we go together… or in this case, we grow far when we grow together, further reinforcing the UK’s commitment to the expansion of trade in East Africa,” UK Trade Commissioner for Africa John Humphrey is quoted in the statement.


“This is particularly important for East African flower growers who transport their blooms via third countries or auction houses before they arrive in the UK.”

The move aims to increase trade and further strengthen the economic relationship between the UK and the region.

The statement also indicated that the UK consumers could win big too on “price, seasonality, and variety”.

In 2022, Kenya was ranked as the fourth biggest exporter of cut flowers in the world, with a six percent market share of global cut flower exports.

Ethiopia is the second largest cut flower producer in Africa, making up 23 percent of Sub-Saharan African exports.

In 2023, the value of trade in cut flowers between the UK from Ethiopia was valued at £12.6 million ($13.5 million), Rwanda at £727,000 ($780,736.36), £839,000 ($901,138.12) from Tanzania, and £1.1 million ($1.18 million) from Uganda.

The decision strengthens the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership – an ambitious five-year agreement that is unlocking mutual benefits for the UK and Kenya.