Boost for Rwanda flower traders as UK suspends export tariffs

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 12 April 2024 at 01:23

The United Kingdom has suspended an 8 per cent export tariff on cut flowers from Rwanda and several countries in the East African region, making the business easier and cheaper for the local traders.

The two-year waiver means that traders can export unlimited quantities of flowers to the UK at zero per cent tariff, even if the commodities were to be transported through third parties.

While the rest of the world is set to benefit from the waiver, the UK named the East African region—comprising other countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda —as the primary beneficiaries.

“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 said in a statement.

UK noted that the waiver is also aimed at increasing and strengthening economic ties between the UK and the region.

“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 said.

“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.”

According to the UK trade office, Kenya ranked as the fourth largest exporter of cut flowers globally in 2022, accounting for six percent of total global exports.

On the other hand, Ethiopia is the second-largest cut flower producer in Africa, accounting for 23 percent of sub-Saharan African exports.

In 2023, the UK imported cut flowers worth £12.6 million ($13.5 million) from Ethiopia, £727,000 ($780,736.36) from Rwanda, £839,000 ($901,138.12) from Tanzania, and £1.1 million ($1.18 million) from Uganda.

This photo shows cut flowers on display.