'US pressured over delayed promise to Kenya' in letter sent to USTR Tai
US President Joe Biden has come under pressure to fulfil the American government promise of achieving a Free Trade Agree (FTA) with Kenya.
Seven Republican Senators want the negotiations for an FTA deal between the US and Kenya hastened to pave way for business and investment.
In a letter written to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, the Senators asked for the process to be given priority after delaying for close to two years.
Led by Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, the lawmakers stated that the deal would build on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that expires in 2025 and free trade efforts on the continent.
“A free trade agreement between the United States and Kenya is the appropriate next step in recognizing and strengthening relations, economic opportunities and a security partnership between the United States and Kenya,” the senators stated.
“A US-Kenya free trade agreement would continue the results of the AGOA and offer greater predictability and security to both the US and Kenya." the letter stated.
The lawmakers noted that the economic situation in Kenya showed robust growth potential and would be supported by a trade agreement.
Another reason why they want the deal to be concluded quickly is to tame the growing interests of China and Russia on the continent.
The US is Kenya’s fourth-largest trading partner and second-largest export market
“The American and Kenyan business community is eager to see a free trade agreement between the United States and Kenya completed and to make bilateral investments in the infrastructure, health, manufacturing and finance sectors,” they stated.
The letter dated August 20, 2021, was sent ahead of a virtual meeting between Tai and Trade CS Betty Maina.
After the meeting, the statements issued by Kenya Trade Ministry and the US Trade office did not provide timelines for resuming the stalled talks.
FTA was an initiative that was initiated under the administration of President Donald Trump but had not been concluded by the time he left office in January 2021.
The Biden administration, which has reversed many of the Trump administration policies, has not opposed the deal although questions have been raised over the slow progress in negotiations - prompting Senator is Trump's party to intervene.
View more United States - Kenya FTA news, data and developments at this link.