Frequently Asked Questions

 A.   EPC Awareness

 1. What is the role of Export Promotion Council and its assistance to export business start-ups?

 The Export Promotion Council (EPC) is a Government of Kenya agency established with the mandate to develop and promote Kenya’s exports of goods and services; and also harmonize export related activities. EPC is the national focal point for the development and promotion of Kenya exports. One of the Council’s main services is provision of relevant export trade information to the business community in Kenya. To enhance this service, the Council established the Centre for Business Information in Kenya (CBIK) for provision of trade information and business counselling to the business community. The Council has also started a phased approach of decentralising the trade information delivery services to other parts of the country in response to the ever increasing demand from other parts other than Nairobi and environs. Currently, two regional offices have been opened in Eldoret serving N. Rift, Western and Nyanza Provinces and Mombasa serves the Coastal region.

 

 2. Where can I get the Export Promotion Council Training schedule?

 

EPC is focused at empowering the business community through export skills development and knowledge sharing as one of its key strategies. Therefore of the objectives of the Council is to enhance the export supply base and competitiveness of SMEs through enterprise development and capacity building. The Council conducts customised training for target clients and the training schedules are advertised in the local newspaper print, the EPC Website (www.epckenya.org), EPC Trade Alert Bulletins, Notice Board, Regional Offices and through enquiries.  

 3. What are the EPC Services to exporters and how can I access them?

 The Council offers its services through a framework of five pillar namely, Policy Facilitation; Trade Information; Export Market Development; Product Development and Adaptation and enhancement of Exporting Skills through training of exporters and facilitators.

 These services are provided to clients when they visit our offices, by mail or telephone. The Council also pro-actively disseminates trade information through the fortnight Trade Alert News Bulletin, Export Magazine, EPC Website, Shows, Forums and Outreach Programmes.

4. How can I take part in EPC organised trade fairs and cost implications.

 The Council facilitate Kenyan businesses to penetrate, diversify into new markets, and consolidate existing markets through trade promotional events. These include: trade missions to priority markets; buyer-seller meets; contact promotion programmes (C.P.P); fairs and exhibitions. The Council develops the Annual Export Development Programme and invites the business community to participate in the promotional events. The costs of participation are shared between the Council and participants. The Council usually caters for Exhibition space, Stand construction, Publicity and Logistics while the participants pay for Registration, Transportation and Accommodation.  

 5. How can I be linked to Trade Point?

 The World Trade Point Federation granted operational status certificate to EPC after attaining a number of requirements laid out. This certificate gives EPC the full mandate to develop, market and implement activities that would promote export specially among SMEs.

The main activities includes posting of SME companies profiles, contacts and products on the WTPF website that has international representation hence giving SME good presence in the international market and posting of offers by SMEs which would also have a global presence. 

 The business community are invited to make their application through any EPC offices to be uploaded in the Trade Point.

  6. What initiatives have EPC taken to promote IT enabled services regionally?

 The Council has developed the Buy from Kenya portal hosted under the main epckenya.org website portal. SMEs in the portal have links to their individual websites to enable them showcase their products online, receive and respond to enquiries and undertake online e-marketing activities.

 The Council is working with Uganda and Tanzania to revive the East Africa Cooperation Regional Information System for Exporters Portal (EAC RISE). The RISE portal provides the business community in the region with timely export information and opportunities.

B.  How to export

1. How can I start an export company?

 An enterprise or individual should seek knowledge on the export business. They should define their business and identify the product or service they want to export and to which international market. The product or service should be market driven and meets international standards. The Council provides enterprises information of the relevant registration, permits, certificate, conformity etc required when they require to start an export company.

 2. What opportunities exist for exporters

The Council continued to explore new areas where the country has comparative advantage and prioritized the promotion of export of services. The Council also developed market and product prioritization frameworks for selection of export markets and products based on empirical data. The framework is used in the development of the Annual National Export Development Programme. The programme is a collaborative effort involving stakeholders in the private and public sectors which identifies lucrative markets for Kenya products and services. Kenya is a signatory of various trading arrangements and partner states where our goods and services enjoy preferential treatment such as EAC, COMESA, AGOA and bilateral trade agreements.

 3. What are the export requirements for my product?

 Various export products like tea, coffee, nuts, fruits, vegetables, flowers, processed foods have to meet the National and International standards ranging from sanitary, pytosanitary, packaging, labelling, etc to access the market. One needs to fully understand the markets entry requirement for their products and work closely with relevant Trade Surpport Organisations in the country which assist exporters to attain the requires tariff and non tariff requirements. Such technical information is avail in institutions like KEBS, KEPHIS, HCDA, Fisheries Department, KWS, Ministry of Trade, KIPI etc.

 4. How do I export and where to? (Horticulture, mushrooms, tea, coffee, commercial crafts, meat, etc)

In order to offer information that is current, relevant and up-to-date, the Council subscribes to several trade information databases. This information is then accessed and analysed for use by exporters/business community from CBIK. The information databases subscribed to during the year include:

-        Interdata:-  which is a database/directory of world importers and export leads

-        Piers Trade Profiles: - Contains a database of USA Importers

-        Euro monitor: - A research facility for world consumer markets and country profiles

-        Kompass:- Contains a directory database of world importers

 

Every year, EPC links Kenya’s companies to export markets by facilitating their participation in a number of international exhibitions. An annual calendar comprising over 20 exhibitions is released early in the year.  You can get to know how to participate in the events by contacting the Export Promotion Council. 

5. Which are the distribution channels used to export?

 The channel of distribution an exporter engages depends on the type of product. Distribution is the mechanism through goods reach the eventual buyer’, this describes the actual transportation of goods from the manufacturer or warehouse via the intermediaries to the retailers up to the consumer. The players involved in this channel are the manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, agent, distributor and manufactures sales branch.

The players perform the forward and backward activities through the distribution channel.

The forward involves activities dealing  with physical movement and promotion of the goods to the consumer. The backward involves activities dealing  with ordering and payment. Both of these flows deal with information gathering, negotiation, finance and risk taking.

6.How will I acquire and communicate with potential leads?

 

EPC provides export leads for various products to enterprises who wish to export. In order to offer information that is current, relevant and up-to-date, the Council subscribes to several trade information databases.

 

Proper communication with importers is very vital; exporters need to know the techniques of attracting the buyer and getting a response which will progress in sealing a deal.

Exporters are advised to acquire suitable email address indicating their company domain from internet service providers. Making a telephone call is highly advisable using the international calling facilities.  

Before communicating one has to know thoroughly the product, price, capacity and your importer.

When negotiating with foreign importers take cognizance of their culture, behavior and language

7.How will I link to producers of exportable products?

 Exportable goods are produced by various institutions such as individuals, SMEs, entrepreneurs, producer groups, industries, farms etc. Exporters need to identify the stakeholders in specific sectors who deal with the goods in interest. Once the product is identified the stakeholder can link the exporter to the producer groups; these stakeholders are amongst other the EPC, Disrict Trade Development Offices, District Industrial Development Officer, KNCC&I, KAM, FPEAK, KFC, HCDA, Jua Kali Associations and District Social Development Officers amongst others.

8.0 How to start an export house in Kenya

 An enterprise or individual should seek knowledge on the export business. They should define their business and identify the product or service they want to export and to which international market. The product or service should be market driven and meets international standards. The Council provides enterprises information of the relevant registration, permits, certificate, conformity etc required when they require to start an export company.

C Export Facilitation

 1. What are Kenya’s export policies?

 The Export sector contributes 30% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Kenya aspires for faster economic growth through increased export led activities   Economic recovery efforts therefore target an annual volume growth of 10 per cent in the export sector. The country promotes an export led economy which contributes to the improvement of lifestyles in the country.
2. Who are the export  trade facilitators in Kenya?

 EPC’s activities were focused on facilitating producers and exporters and identification of bottlenecks facing the business community in the production and trading of export goods and services. However export trade is complex and requires a well coordinated framework of facilitators who perform specialised tasks along the export chain. These facilitators include the Ministry of Trade, KEBS, HCDA, KEPHIS, MOA, KRA and Sector Associations.

3. Where do I get certification?

 To secure acceptable levels of quality consistently one must develop systems and procedures to develop quality standards, inspection methods quality control procedures for export products and services. Exporters should obtain support on standards and quality management from organisations like; Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), KEPHIS, HCDA, Private Certification Institutions and Sector Associations like Kenya Flower Council.

 4.0 Where does one obtain the Certificate of Origin?

Certificate of Origin are issued by the Customs Department, Kenya Revenue Authority depending on the export destination. The purposes of the Certificate of Origin is to indicate the origin of exports so that they can enjoy preferential duty entry into the export market depending on the prevailing trade arrangement between Kenya and the importing country. The Cerficate of Origins issued are; COMESA Certificate of Origin, EUR-1 Form, GSP, EACD and Ordinary Certificate of Origin and AGOA Certificate of Origin.

D Export Business Start-ups

1. How do I get into export business? 

 An enterprise or individual should seek knowledge on the export business. They should define their business and identify the product or service they want to export and to which international market. The product or service should be market driven and meets international standards. The Council provides enterprises information of the relevant registration, permits, certificate, conformity etc required when they require to start an export company.

 2. How can I prepare a business plan/marketing plan?

 An Export Marketing Plan provides a framework on journey exporting and include the Mission of the Exporter, Current Market Position, Market and Industry Trends, Export Audit, Market Entry Strategy,  Management responsibilities, Action Plan, Budgets and Forecasts

 D Pricing & Costing

 How do I price my products for export?

 E Export Leads/Prospect
1. How can I get an export market
2. Where can I get contacts of credible buyers for my products?
3. What/where is the market for my products?
4. Where can I get contacts of exporters who buy produce from producers?
5. How do I access the flower auction in Netherlands?

 F Buyer Credibility

How do I ascertain the credibility of a buyer?

 G Export Marketing & Promotion

1.0 How do I market my company and products in overseas markets?

2. How do I participate in a trade fair?

3.0 How do I market crafts in the EU markets?

 The EU is not a homogeneous market. There are now 27 separate member states, and although there may be similarities between some states, the differences in some cases will outweigh the similarities. For this reason, it is important in the first instance to focus on a few or on a cluster of countries. Within EU countries there are important differences to appreciate, For example, The north of Italy is very different from the south, In Germany there are still differences between the West and the East, The climate is very different in the North of the EU to the South. These differences have an important impact on the design, trends, fashion, utility, and size of the craft to be sold in the EU market.

 

4. How can I prepare a quality company profile? Catalogue?

5. Where can I get export market information?

6. How can I carry out an export market research

7. Which trade fairs can I participate in on my own?

 

H Preferential Trade Arrangements

1. Duties applied by COMESA member states?

2. Which export opportunities exist in EAC, COMESA, and AGOA

3. How do I access the EAC market? What licenses and tariffs apply for exports to EA

4. How do I export under AGOA?

5. Which products are eligible under AGOA?

6. What are the tax regimes being used in GSP countries?

 

I Export Payment Terms, Credit and Logistics

  1. How do I insure against risks in exporting?
  2. How do I finance an export venture?
  3. Which terms of payments can I use when exporting?
  4. What logistics and documentations are required in exporting?

 

J Intellectual Property Rights

How do I protect my innovations?

 

K Export of Services
1. What opportunities exist in the BPO services?
2. Where does one acquire the barcodes?

 L Export Packaging & Labelling

Where can I get packaging materials for my products?

 

 

 

A.   EPC Awareness

 

What is the role of Export Promotion Council and its assistance to export business start-ups?

 

The Export Promotion Council (EPC) is a Government of Kenya agency established with the mandate to develop and promote Kenya’s exports of goods and services; and also harmonize export related activities. EPC is the national focal point for the development and promotion of Kenya exports. One of the Council’s main services is provision of relevant export trade information to the business community in Kenya. To enhance this service, the Council established the Centre for Business Information in Kenya (CBIK) for provision of trade information and business counselling to the business community. The Council has also started a phased approach of decentralising the trade information delivery services to other parts of the country in response to the ever increasing demand from other parts other than Nairobi and environs. Currently, two regional offices have been opened in Eldoret serving N. Rift, Western and Nyanza Provinces and Mombasa serves the Coastal region.

 

 

  1. Where can I get the Export Promotion Council Training schedule?

 

EPC is focused at empowering the business community through export skills development and knowledge sharing as one of its key strategies. Therefore of the objectives of the Council is to enhance the export supply base and competitiveness of SMEs through enterprise development and capacity building. The Council conducts customised training for target clients and the training schedules are advertised in the local newspaper print, the EPC Website (www.epckenya.org), EPC Trade Alert Bulletins, Notice Board, Regional Offices and through enquiries.  

 

 

 

  1. What are the EPC Services to exporters and how can I access them?

 

The Council offers its services through a framework of five pillar namely, Policy Facilitation; Trade Information; Export Market Development; Product Development and Adaptation and enhancement of Exporting Skills through training of exporters and facilitators.

 

These services are provided to clients when they visit our offices, by mail or telephone. The Council also pro-actively disseminates trade information through the fortnight Trade Alert News Bulletin, Export Magazine, EPC Website, Shows, Forums and Outreach Programmes.

 

  1. How can I take part in EPC organised trade fairs and cost implications.

 

The Council facilitate Kenyan businesses to penetrate, diversify into new markets, and consolidate existing markets through trade promotional events. These include: trade missions to priority markets; buyer-seller meets; contact promotion programmes (C.P.P); fairs and exhibitions. The Council develops the Annual Export Development Programme and invites the business community to participate in the promotional events. The costs of participation are shared between the Council and participants. The Council usually caters for Exhibition space, Stand construction, Publicity and Logistics while the participants pay for Registration, Transportation and Accommodation.  

 

  1. How can I be linked to Trade Point?

 

The World Trade Point Federation granted operational status certificate to EPC after attaining a number of requirements laid out. This certificate gives EPC the full mandate to develop, market and implement activities that would promote export specially among SMEs.

The main activities includes posting of SME companies profiles, contacts and products on the WTPF website that has international representation hence giving SME good presence in the international market and posting of offers by SMEs which would also have a global presence. 

 

The business community are invited to make their application through any EPC offices to be uploaded in the Trade Point.

 

 

  1. What initiatives have EPC taken to promote IT enabled services regionally?

 

The Council has developed the Buy from Kenya portal hosted under the main epckenya.org website portal. SMEs in the portal have links to their individual websites to enable them showcase their products online, receive and respond to enquiries and undertake online e-marketing activities.

 

The Council is working with Uganda and Tanzania to revive the East Africa Cooperation Regional Information System for Exporters Portal (EAC RISE). The RISE portal provides the business community in the region with timely export information and opportunities.

 

 

B.  How to export

  1. How can I start an export company?

 

An enterprise or individual should seek knowledge on the export business. They should define their business and identify the product or service they want to export and to which international market. The product or service should be market driven and meets international standards. The Council provides enterprises information of the relevant registration, permits, certificate, conformity etc required when they require to start an export company.

  1. What opportunities exist for exporters

The Council continued to explore new areas where the country has comparative advantage and prioritized the promotion of export of services. The Council also developed market and product prioritization frameworks for selection of export markets and products based on empirical data. The framework is used in the development of the Annual National Export Development Programme. The programme is a collaborative effort involving stakeholders in the private and public sectors which identifies lucrative markets for Kenya products and services. Kenya is a signatory of various trading arrangements and partner states where our goods and services enjoy preferential treatment such as EAC, COMESA, AGOA and bilateral trade agreements.

 

 

  1. What are the export requirements for my product?

 

Various export products like tea, coffee, nuts, fruits, vegetables, flowers, processed foods have to meet the National and International standards ranging from sanitary, pytosanitary, packaging, labelling, etc to access the market. One needs to fully understand the markets entry requirement for their products and work closely with relevant Trade Surpport Organisations in the country which assist exporters to attain the requires tariff and non tariff requirements. Such technical information is avail in institutions like KEBS, KEPHIS, HCDA, Fisheries Department, KWS, Ministry of Trade, KIPI etc.

 

  1. How do I export and where to? (Horticulture, mushrooms, tea, coffee, commercial crafts, meat, etc)

In order to offer information that is current, relevant and up-to-date, the Council subscribes to several trade information databases. This information is then accessed and analysed for use by exporters/business community from CBIK. The information databases subscribed to during the year include:

-        Interdata:-  which is a database/directory of world importers and export leads

-        Piers Trade Profiles: - Contains a database of USA Importers

-        Euro monitor: - A research facility for world consumer markets and country profiles

-        Kompass:- Contains a directory database of world importers

 

Every year, EPC links Kenya’s companies to export markets by facilitating their participation in a number of international exhibitions. An annual calendar comprising over 20 exhibitions is released early in the year.  You can get to know how to participate in the events by contacting the Export Promotion Council. 

 

 

  1. Which are the distribution channels used to export?

 

The channel of distribution an exporter engages depends on the type of product. Distribution is the mechanism through goods reach the eventual buyer’, this describes the actual transportation of goods from the manufacturer or warehouse via the intermediaries to the retailers up to the consumer. The players involved in this channel are the manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, agent, distributor and manufactures sales branch.

The players perform the forward and backward activities through the distribution channel.

The forward involves activities dealing  with physical movement and promotion of the goods to the consumer. The backward involves activities dealing  with ordering and payment. Both of these flows deal with information gathering, negotiation, finance and risk taking.

 

 

  1. How will I acquire and communicate with potential leads?

 

EPC provides export leads for various products to enterprises who wish to export. In order to offer information that is current, relevant and up-to-date, the Council subscribes to several trade information databases.

 

Proper communication with importers is very vital; exporters need to know the techniques of attracting the buyer and getting a response which will progress in sealing a deal.

Exporters are advised to acquire suitable email address indicating their company domain from internet service providers. Making a telephone call is highly advisable using the international calling facilities.  

Before communicating one has to know thoroughly the product, price, capacity and your importer.

When negotiating with foreign importers take cognizance of their culture, behavior and language

 

 

  1. How will I link to producers of exportable products?

 

Exportable goods are produced by various institutions such as individuals, SMEs, entrepreneurs, producer groups, industries, farms etc. Exporters need to identify the stakeholders in specific sectors who deal with the goods in interest. Once the product is identified the stakeholder can link the exporter to the producer groups; these stakeholders are amongst other the EPC, Disrict Trade Development Offices, District Industrial Development Officer, KNCC&I, KAM, FPEAK, KFC, HCDA, Jua Kali Associations and District Social Development Officers amongst others.

 

 

  1. How to start an export house in Kenya

 

An enterprise or individual should seek knowledge on the export business. They should define their business and identify the product or service they want to export and to which international market. The product or service should be market driven and meets international standards. The Council provides enterprises information of the relevant registration, permits, certificate, conformity etc required when they require to start an export company.

 

 

 

C Export Facilitation

 

  1. What are Kenya’s export policies?

 

The Export sector contributes 30% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Kenya aspires for faster economic growth through increased export led activities   Economic recovery efforts therefore target an annual volume growth of 10 per cent in the export sector. The country promotes an export led economy which contributes to the improvement of lifestyles in the country.

 

 

  1. Who are the export  trade facilitators in Kenya?

 

EPC’s activities were focused on facilitating producers and exporters and identification of bottlenecks facing the business community in the production and trading of export goods and services. However export trade is complex and requires a well coordinated framework of facilitators who perform specialised tasks along the export chain. These facilitators include the Ministry of Trade, KEBS, HCDA, KEPHIS, MOA, KRA and Sector Associations.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Where do I get certification?

 

To secure acceptable levels of quality consistently one must develop systems and procedures to develop quality standards, inspection methods quality control procedures for export products and services. Exporters should obtain support on standards and quality management from organisations like; Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), KEPHIS, HCDA, Private Certification Institutions and Sector Associations like Kenya Flower Council.

 

 

  1. Where does one obtain the Certificate of Origin?

 

Certificate of Origin are issued by the Customs Department, Kenya Revenue Authority depending on the export destination. The purposes of the Certificate of Origin is to indicate the origin of exports so that they can enjoy preferential duty entry into the export market depending on the prevailing trade arrangement between Kenya and the importing country. The Cerficate of Origins issued are; COMESA Certificate of Origin, EUR-1 Form, GSP, EACD and Ordinary Certificate of Origin and AGOA Certificate of Origin.

 

 

 

D Export Business Start-ups

 

  1. How do I get into export business? 

 

An enterprise or individual should seek knowledge on the export business. They should define their business and identify the product or service they want to export and to which international market. The product or service should be market driven and meets international standards. The Council provides enterprises information of the relevant registration, permits, certificate, conformity etc required when they require to start an export company.

 

  1. How can I prepare a business plan/marketing plan?

 

An Export Marketing Plan provides a framework on journey exporting and include the Mission of the Exporter, Current Market Position, Market and Industry Trends, Export Audit, Market Entry Strategy,  Management responsibilities, Action Plan, Budgets and Forecasts

 

 

D Pricing & Costing

 

How do I price my products for export?

 

 

 

E Export Leads/Prospects

  1. How can I get an export market?
  1. Where can I get contacts of credible buyers for my products?
  1. What/where is the market for my products?
  1. Where can I get contacts of exporters who buy produce from producers?
  1. How do I access the flower auction in Netherlands?

 

 

F Buyer Credibility

How do I ascertain the credibility of a buyer?

 

G Export Marketing & Promotion

  1. How do I market my company and products in overseas markets?
  1. How do I participate in a trade fair?
  1. How do I market crafts in the EU markets?

 

The EU is not a homogeneous market. There are now 27 separate member states, and although there may be similarities between some states, the differences in some cases will outweigh the similarities. For this reason, it is important in the first instance to focus on a few or on a cluster of countries. Within EU countries there are important differences to appreciate, For example, The north of Italy is very different from the south, In Germany there are still differences between the West and the East, The climate is very different in the North of the EU to the South. These differences have an important impact on the design, trends, fashion, utility, and size of the craft to be sold in the EU market.

 

 

  1. How can I prepare a quality company profile? Catalogue?
  1. Where can I get export market information?
  1. How can I carry out an export market research?
  1. Which trade fairs can I participate in on my own?

 

H Preferential Trade Arrangements

  1. Duties applied by COMESA member states?
  1. Which export opportunities exist in EAC, COMESA, and AGOA?
  1. How do I access the EAC market? What licenses and tariffs apply for exports to EAC
  1. How do I export under AGOA?
  1. Which products are eligible under AGOA?
  1. What are the tax regimes being used in GSP countries?

 

I Export Payment Terms, Credit and Logistics

  1. How do I insure against risks in exporting?
  1. How do I finance an export venture?
  1. Which terms of payments can I use when exporting?
  1. What logistics and documentations are required in exporting?

 

J Intellectual Property Rights

How do I protect my innovations?

 

K Export of Services

  1. What opportunities exist in the BPO services?
  1. Where does one acquire the barcodes?

 

L Export Packaging & Labelling

Where can I get packaging materials for my products?

 

About EPC

The Export Promotion Council (EPC) premier mandate is to support exporters and producers of export goods and services. Established in 1992, EPC’s primary objective was to address bottlenecks that were facing exporters and producers of export goods and services with a view to increasing the performance of the export sector.
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Export Promotion Council

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P.O. Box 40247 00100 GPO
Nairobi, Kenya.

Tel. +254 20 222 8534-8
Cellphone: +254 722 205 875
Fax: +254 20 222 8539 or 221 8013

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