'Hope for Kenya-US trade deal as talks resume'

'Hope for Kenya-US trade deal as talks resume'
Published
Thursday, 08 April 2021 ~ SUSAN NYAWIRA

Kenya and the United States have resumed talks on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) ongoing since last year.

Kenya's Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina and US Trade representative Katherine Tai held talks that focussed on the importance of the trade relations between Kenya and Africa as important partners to the US.

The bilateral trade talks paused in the wake of American presidential elections last November.

A change of guard at the White House had raised uncertainty over the FTA deal, with the new US president Joe Biden reversing numerous policies  rolled out by his predecessor. Donald Trump.

During the talks, it emerged that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are keen on supporting increased contribution of developing countries to the global economy.

With respect to Africa and in recognition of Africa’s fragile position in the global trade architecture, the FTA resonates with the desire by African countries to forge an economic partnership through the greater regional integration and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Kenya is a signatory to trade agreements under the AfCFTA, the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

It is committed to negotiate trade agreements that will complement these and other existing multi-country trade agreements.

Maina and Tai underlined the need for Kenya and the US to be guided by a robust trade policy that will promote the mutual interests of the majority of the Kenyan and American people.

This, they said, will ensure that trade partnerships support the development agenda of the two countries, including creating jobs and promoting economic growth.

In view of the recent transition in the US, Tai said  she is reviewing the progress of the talks in alignment with the Biden-Harris Administration’s stated priorities in response to Covid-19, articulated under the Build Back Better banner

Kenya and the US launched trade negotiations on July 8, 2020 and have conducted two rounds of discussions.

The two  will explore a viable medium to long term approach to their future trade relations in the context of the wider agenda of the US trade and development policy for Africa.

Tai requested Kenya to partner with the US in developing this strategy and supporting the regional integration drive in Africa.

Kenya is keen to sign a deal with Washington before the expiry of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which allows sub-Sahara states to export thousands of products to the US without tariffs or quotas until 2025.

The FTA seeks duty-free market access for US industrial goods to Kenya as well as agricultural, textile and apparel products.

Two-way goods trade between the US and Kenya totalled Sh118 billion in 2019, up 4.9 percent from 2018.

agoa business connector

 

View related news articles

'The opportunities are vast in a potential US-Kenya FTA'

Last year, the U.S. and Kenya announced the launch of free trade negotiations, the first of its kind between the U.S. and a sub-Saharan Africa country. If successful, it would be the most significant trade development in the region since the enactment of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade preference program in 2000. To better understand the key issues surrounding FTA negotiations, the U.S. Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Business...

06 May 2021

Report: A look at the potential benefits and challenges of a US – Kenya trade agreement

The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Kenya has partnered with the U.S. Africa Business Centre (USAfBC) and Covington to publish a business trade report. The report, titled US-Kenya Trade Negotiations: Implications for the Future of the U.S.-Africa Trade Relationship, examines the challenges and benefits of a potential free trade agreement (FTA) between the U.S. and Kenya. Speaking during the report launch, AmCham Kenya CEO,...

30 April 2021

Kenya: 'Uhuru–Blinken talks a breath of life to US trade deal'

Trade talks between Kenya and the US could resume soon following Tuesday's virtual meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. This is after a five-month break occasioned by change of g-uard in the US as President Joe Biden took over from Donald Trump after last November’s elections. The settling down of the Biden administration put foreign trade negotiations and policies on hold, which included...

29 April 2021

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

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...

05 April 2021

US Chamber drives for Kenya-US trade deal

The United States Chamber of Commerce has urged President Joe Biden to seal a new trade deal with Kenya, which was initiated by his predecessor Donald Trump. The biggest and most influential US business lobby group wants the ongoing negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two nations concluded fast to pave the way for uptake of business and investment opportunities. “The Chamber supports the negotiation of a high-standard...

02 February 2021

Kenya–US trade talks on hold, awaits Biden's administration

Kenya hopes to resume trade talks with the US after change of guard at the White House with President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday.  The country is optimistic of speedy resumption of negotiations, with hopes the Biden administration will warm up to Africa, and Kenya as an investment destination and trade partner. The negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which commenced on July 8, last year,  stalled due to...

21 January 2021

'Uncertainty around Kenya-US Free trade deal'

A cloud of uncertainty has engulfed Kenya’s pursuit of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States due to the impending change of guard at the White House.  Even before he takes office, President-elect Joe Biden has sent strong indications of plans to annul many of President Donald Trump’s policies, cutting across trade, environment and geopolitics - something that has Kenya on edge over the ongoing negotiations for a...

18 January 2021

Opinion: 'Kenya-US relations really do matter'

With the shadow of the bitterly contested American presidential elections looming over us, the past few weeks have seen much discussion on the relationship between Kenya and the US. The average American may not care much who gets to be the president of Kenya – indeed would generally have no idea of it, if there was a presidential election taking place in Kenya. But most Kenyans are very keen to see if this most unusual of American...

05 November 2020

'From AGOA to FTA - Kenya-US ties growing from strength to strength'

[Opinion] The 56-year-old United States-Kenya relationship flourishes because we trust each other, respect each other and our nations share common values. Both believe in a strong economy through an open, free marketplace allowing entrepreneurs, businesses and the private sector to thrive and create jobs. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) enhanced markets, allowing Kenyan businesses to grow. Agoa will expire in 2025 and, while...

29 October 2020

Members of Congress warn Trump not to push for plastic concessions in Kenya trade talks

Leading US politicians have urged President Trump to oppose the export of more plastic waste to Africa after an investigation by Unearthed and the New York Times revealed oil industry attempts to influence a US-Kenya trade deal. In a letter released after the investigation landed on the front page of the New York Times, one Republican and 61 Democrats from both the Senate and the House of Representatives said: “The...

02 October 2020