Relief for cut flower producers as Britain suspends EA export tariffs

We go far when we go together … or, in this case, we grow far when we grow together’

­– Trade Commissioner for Africa, John Humphrey


Producers of cut flowers in East Africa are now a happy lot, after the United Kingdom suspended its global tariff for cut flowers to increase trade and value for consumers.

According to a joint statement from the British High Commission in Nairobi, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, and Addis Ababa (Embassy), published on April 11, 2024, the UK has temporarily removed export tariffs for cut flowers.

“The UK Global Tariff (UKGT) on cut flowers will be suspended for two years from April 11, 2024, to June 30, 2026. This will allow unlimited quantities of flowers to enter the UK, particularly if they transit through a third country, or the flower auctions in The Netherlands – where previously an 8 percent UKGT would apply,” reads the statement in part.

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 strengthen the economic relationship between the UK and the region. Consumers in the UK could win big too – on price, seasonality, and variety.

Suspension of the 8 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.

His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, John Humphrey, said: “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 expansion of trade in East Africa.”

In 2022, Kenya was ranked the fourth biggest exporter of cut-flowers in the world, with 6 percent of global cut-flower exports. Ethiopia is the second largest cut flower producer in Africa, making up to 23 percent of sub-Saharan African exports.

In 2023, the value of trade in cut flowers between the UK from Ethiopia was £12.6m, Rwanda was at £727,000, Tanzania £839,000, and Uganda £1.1m.

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