Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto said the east Africa nation will soon conclude negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union and will focus on trade rather than aid.
There was need to fast track the negotiations by resolving outstanding issues that are holding the negotiations and signing of the agreements, said Ruto after meeting with Head of the EU Delegation in Kenya Lodewijk Briet late Monday
"We would like to resolve many of the issues that are outstanding as East African Community (EAC) to make the region more attractive and competitive to investors," he said.
Kenya's trade industry is currently concerned that the EPAs will not be signed by the Oct. 1 deadline. That would make them lose market access to Europe and billions of shillings.
The east African nation stands to benefit from foreign exchange earnings, employment opportunities and penetration to the European Union market with EPAs.
The country has enjoyed preferential access to the EU market for the last 38 years through four successive Lome Conventions signed between 1975-2000.
The intention is to reciprocate the trading terms that the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have been enjoying since 1959.
But the negotiations have faced stiff competition from the civil society and Africa Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP's) trade experts because of the risk they pose to local enterprises.
Ruto noted that there was need to further improve the trade relations between Kenya and the EU and the wider East African Community (EAC).
He pointed out that the negotiations must take cognizance of the needs and fears of traders and farmers in the region whose trade portfolio is still growing.
The deputy president said while the government is seized of the matter and was working to have it speedily concluded, the European Union should find a mechanism of bridging the gap.