Agoa.info - African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News/Article/Kenya, US revisit trade talks, agree to expedite process

Kenya, US revisit trade talks, agree to expedite process

Kenya, US revisit trade talks, agree to expedite process
Published date:
Tuesday, 14 June 2022
Author:
MARTIN MWITA

Kenya and the US have revisited trade talks between the two countries as ministers meet at the World Trade Organization's 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva.

As a next step, the two countries have agreed to work to finalise a list of areas for cooperation to deepen economic engagement.

This was during an engagement between the US Trade Representative ambassador Katherine Tai and Kenya’s Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina.

The two have agreed to meet again in the coming weeks to announce next steps before end of next month (July).

It will build on the successful consultative meeting of experts from the two countries held in Kenya in May 2022.

In a statement yesterday, the US said ambassador Tai and CS Maina agreed to explore pathways towards a deeper bilateral trade and economic relationship that promotes sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

They are also keen on a deal that benefits workers, consumers, and businesses (including Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises),and one that supports African regional economic integration.

  “They discussed a number of issues where the United States and Kenya could develop an ambitious roadmap for enhanced cooperation and, where appropriate, explore negotiating high-standard commitments,” the statement read in part.

Issues discussed include trade facilitation and customs, standards, services digital trade, environment and climate change, and agriculture. 

The latest developments now gives hope to the deal that was facing possible delays over anxieties arising from the forthcoming Kenya’s August elections. 

A lot of attention in Kenya has shifted to campaigns after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission cleared aspirants for the presidential, governorship and other elective posts.

CS Maina, who is driving the talks, however affirms that Kenya remains committed to the signing of the Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement. 

The negotiations which started during former US President Donald Trump and Uhuru’s regime, on July 8, 2020, were nevertheless derailed by the 2020 US elections.

When President Joe Biden took office in January last year, his administration sought more time to scrutinise the pact.

The talks were also disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic before the US elections.

The US is pushing for favourable terms among them a duty free market access for its goods, including agricultural and industrial, in a move aimed at taming the growing dominance of China’s trade with Kenya.

Last year, China remained the single leading source of Kenya’s imports, accounting for 20.5 per cent of the total imports valued at Sh441.4 billion, the Economic Survey 2022 shows.

Imports from the US were valued at Sh84.2 billion in the year, which was an increase from Sh56.3 billion.

“This was largely attributable to expenditure on imported liquefied butanes, aircraft equipment and parts, and medical and pharmaceutical products,” the survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics notes.

Objectives captured in a document by the US Trade Representative’s office indicates the country is keen to secure comprehensive market access for US agricultural goods in Kenya by reducing or eliminating tariffs.

“…Eliminate practices that unfairly decrease US market access opportunities or distort agricultural markets to the detriment of the United States, including non-tariff barriers that discriminate against US agricultural goods, and restrictive rules in the administration of tariff rate quotas,” the document reads in part.

The US is also pushing for a competitive procurement space in government, eradication of corruption, adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights, removal of non-tarrif barriers, favourable sanitary and phytosanitary measure among other interests.

Kenya on the other hand seeks to protect its local industries and sectors even as it pushes for favourable terms to grow its exports.

While it takes at least two years to conclude a Free Trade Agreement, according to experts, the timelines for the Kenya-US deal still remain open.

“Once you are in a partnership, you agree to talk until you decide you cant agree or you agree. We are maintaining fidelity to our objectives,” the CS told the Star in a recent telephone conversation.

The US is the largest export destination of Kenya’s apparel, accounting for over 90 percent of garment exports every year, a sector that stands out as the biggest beneficiary in an improved trade environment under the FTA.

The current developments mean the deal will hopefully be concluded by the next regime of government that will take over from President Uhuru.

 

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

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

US officials to fast-track talks on Kenya-US Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP)

US authorities will expedite negotiations on the Kenya-US Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) and consider extending the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) beyond its expiry next year. Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Musalia Mudavadi who spoke after a meeting with US Secretary for State Mr Tony Blinken said these initiatives will facilitate expanded duty and quota-free access...

02 February 2024

Kenya, US trade talks resume in Nairobi, go for common ground

The third round of the Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) negotiations between Kenya and the United States opened in Nairobi yesterday. Investment, Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano said Kenya’s delegation is being led by Trade Principal Secretary Alfred K’Ombudo.  The main agenda items for the meeting which wraps up tomorrow revolve around agriculture, good regulatory practices, and workers’ rights...

30 January 2024

Kenya, US talks shift to agriculture

Kenya and the United States are set to begin talks on contentious clauses in a proposed bilateral trade deal amid fears the agreement could flood the market with cheap agricultural imports from America. The delayed third in-person round of talks will focus on agriculture, good regulatory practices and workers’ rights and protections, according to a statement from the US Trade Representative Office (USTR). The three-day negotiations...

27 January 2024

You are here: Home/News/Article/Kenya, US revisit trade talks, agree to expedite process