Agoa.info - African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News/Article/'Biden Administration dampens Kenya's hopes for bilateral trade deal'

'Biden Administration dampens Kenya's hopes for bilateral trade deal'

'Biden Administration dampens Kenya's hopes for bilateral trade deal'
Published date:
Monday, 05 April 2021
Author:
NJIRAINI MUCHIRA

The Biden administration's plans to review foreign trade policy and refocus it on America's economic recovery have thrown long-running free trade negotiations with Kenya into disarray.

In a development that casts doubts on the future of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with Kenya, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai has informed Kenyan Minister of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Betty Maina of the U.S. government's plans to review trade negotiations started by the Trump administration in order to align them with President Biden’s goals. 

“Ambassador Tai highlighted her ongoing review of the negotiations to ensure that any agreement aligns with the Biden-Harris administration’s Build Back Better agenda,” said Tai’s office in a statement following a virtual meeting with Maina.

“The Biden administration will prioritize trade policies that have tangible benefits for all working Americans, families and communities."

The statement added that while the two discussed the importance of the U.S.-Kenya relationship and strengthening ties between both countries, they agreed on the shared priority of supporting African integration and maintaining a sustained dialogue about key issues.

The focus on supporting African integration was symbolic, considering that Kenya has come under criticism for undermining regional and continental integration efforts in its unilateral pursuit of foreign trade agreements.

By crafting a trade policy around its domestic "Build Back Better" agenda, the Biden administration seeks to put trade at the center of American economic recovery after the ravages of COVID-19 pandemic.

This inward-looking trade agenda puts Kenya’s pursuit for an FTA with the U.S. in jeopardy, and it comes at a time when commitment to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by a majority of nations is fast waning. The AfCFTA came into effect in January and has had a slow start, with a total of 18 countries yet to ratify the agreement.

Kenya was hoping to secure a trade agreement with the U.S., considering that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that defines U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa is set to expire in 2025.

U.S. total two-way goods trade with Sub-Saharan Africa stood at $33 billion last year. During the year, U.S. goods exports to the region were $13.6 billion, down 14 percent from 2019, while imports were $19.2 billion, down 8.6 percent from 2019.

In 2020, overall U.S. foreign trade plunged 12.3 percent to $4.9 trillion, the largest nominal decrease since 2009. Over the course of the year, exports of goods and services decreased by 15.7 percent while imports were down 9.5 percent.

agoa business connector

 

Read related news articles

Ruto's State visit spotlights Kenya's centrality to Africa-US relations [Download Facsheet]

President Joe Biden's choice of Kenya for a first African state visit in more than 15 years is no coincidence, but both countries must be clear on what is driving this increasing strategic dependence. Kenyan President William Ruto's arrival in Washington on 22 May ends a historic drought. No African leader has made a state visit to the US since John Kufuor of Ghana in 2008 - three times longer than the previous record gap, but a period that...

23 May 2024

Senator Coons talks US and sub-Saharan African countries partnership amid Kenyan President’s visit

In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) discussed Kenyan President William Ruto’s visit to the United States this week and the need for Congress to advance a reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in an interview with Devex yesterday. A major area of interest for President Ruto is the trade relationship between the United States and Kenya, and his visit is expected to lend support to the...

22 May 2024

Top democrats on Senate and House committees urge Administration to upgrade Kenya trade talks to a comprehensive trade agreement

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal, D-Mass., called on U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to transition current trade discussions with Kenya into negotiations of a comprehensive, enforceable trade agreement, in a letter today.  Although the Biden administration is in discussions for a U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP),...

21 May 2024

Kenya-US trade talks inching closer to completion – Cabinet Sec Miano

Kenya and the US are inching closer to reaching a trade deal, Investments, Trade and Industry CS Rebecca Miano has hinted, meaning a pact could be in place by end of this year. This, even as the US expresses confidence that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), set to expire next year, will be renewed to allow Sub-Sharan nations continue to enjoy preferential export terms to the US market. The in-person talks between Kenya and US...

25 April 2024

USTR releases summaries from US – Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations

Consistent with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to the highest levels of transparency in trade agreement negotiations, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released summaries of texts proposed by the U.S. side on good regulatory practices, workers’ rights and protections, and a second tranche of agriculture text. Negotiations on these texts are ongoing. USTR will negotiate the workers’...

08 April 2024

Kenya: 4th AmCham business summit to advocate for enhanced partnership and investment In US-East Africa trade

The fourth edition of the regional American Chamber of Commerce Kenya (AmCham) Business Summit, the premier platform for strengthening bilateral trade and investment between the United States, Kenya, and East Africa is set to be held on April 24–25, 2024, in Nairobi, Kenya. Kenya’s President William Ruto is confirmed as Chief Guest, leading a government delegation to the summit that aims to expand commercial opportunities and markets....

19 March 2024

USTR releases President Biden’s 2024 trade policy agenda and 2023 annual report

The Office of the United States Trade Representative today released President Biden’s 2024 Trade Policy Agenda and 2023 Annual Report to Congress, which details USTR’s work to advance President Biden’s trade agenda.  The President’s 2024 Trade Policy Agenda stands up for workers’ rights and sustainable trade practices, supports U.S. farmers, ranchers, fishers, and food manufacturers, bolsters supply chain resilience,...

05 March 2024

US-Kenya: Ruto’s US state visit needs to navigate America’s uncertain political future

President William Ruto will visit the United States on a State Visit in May during what is likely to be one of the most turbulent US elections in memory. Barring some miracle, or catastrophe, the US presidential election will be a showdown between the same two contenders—albeit older and less energetic—as in 2020. The US presidential election in November is the most significant geopolitical risk event of 2024. Its outcome could result in...

26 February 2024

US President Biden to welcome Kenyan President Ruto to the White House in May

President Joe Biden plans to welcome Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House in May, hosting a state visit after reneging on his promise to visit Africa last year. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday that the visit set for May 23 will mark the 60th anniversary of U.S.-Kenya diplomatic relations and "celebrate a partnership that is delivering for the people" of both countries while affirming "our strategic...

18 February 2024

US keen to strengthen Kenya’s public procurement system as trade talks resume [incl. Readout]

The US plans to strengthen Kenya’s public procurement systems in what is seen as a strategy to put in place sound structures ahead of the planned trade pact. This comes as talks on the Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) resumed last week with a meeting in Nairobi. Kenya is pushing for the deal and renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which expires next year. Washington in a statement on Tuesday said the...

07 February 2024

'Nigeria missing as Kenya, Ghana tap AGOA opportunities to boost foreign exchange earnings'

Africa’s biggest economy is still failing to tap the opportunities that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) present to boost its foreign exchange, amid acute dollar shortages. The AGOA has been on for over twenty-three years as it was enacted in 2020. In 2015, the program was modernised and extended to 2025, implying that there are only about 15 months before the window closes. Some countries have taken advantage of the AGOA more...

05 February 2024

You are here: Home/News/Article/'Biden Administration dampens Kenya's hopes for bilateral trade deal'