- African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News/Article/Kenya, US trade talks resume in Nairobi, go for common ground

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

Kenya, US trade talks resume in Nairobi, go for common ground
Published date:
Tuesday, 30 January 2024
Noah Wandera

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 and protection, important areas that affect the livelihoods of millions of people in both countries.  The negotiators will seek to find common ground and address any outstanding challenges.

“As we exchange ideas on several areas of mutual interest, we should zero in on imperatives that can yield transformative trade and investment ideals. These will underpin our collaborative future, whilst setting a groundbreaking precedent for regional integration,” Miano explained in a statement. She expressed confidence that the two teams are equal to the task of crafting a more impactful partnership capable of unlocking the full potential of our bilateral cooperation.

Miano also called for the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) and for Kenya to be granted special congressional permanent market access by the United States.

The trade agreement, set to expire in 2025, offers duty-free access to US markets for countries in sub-Saharan Africa that meet certain conditions on rule of law, human rights, and labour protections. It has provided substantial diplomatic benefits and led to major growth in sectors such as apparel, with exports to the US nearly doubling over 20 years.

If Agoa is renewed and Kenya is granted special congressional permanent market access, it could potentially enhance the benefits Kenya receives from the STIP.

It would provide Kenyan businesses with greater access to the US market, promoting economic growth and diversification.

Permanent market access

“Still on the co-operation of our two nations, I take this opportunity to call for the renewal of Agoa and urge our American counterparts to grant Kenya special congressional permanent market access. This will not only boost our trade relations but also foster peace and stability in the region,” Miano added.

The STIP is a key initiative that was launched in July 2022 to strengthen trade and investment ties between the US and Kenya.  The partnership aims to support sustainable and inclusive economic development, benefit workers, consumers, and businesses, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and help with the process of African regional economic integration.

In agriculture, the US has suggested a comprehensive set of provisions to improve market access for agricultural producers and promote food security.

These provisions aim to increase regulatory transparency and facilitate agricultural trade through science-based decision-making. In terms of good regulatory practices, both countries are working towards high-level commitments.

These include ensuring enough time for public consultations on proposed regulations, making proposed regulations available for stakeholder review, and basing regulatory decisions on the best available information, science, and evidence.

Regarding workers’ rights and protection, the US and Kenya are committed to advancing and protecting labour rights through the enforcement of labour laws, promotion of social dialogue, and co-operation on labour and employment priorities.

Read related news articles

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 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

Kenya-US far from trade deal as year ends

Kenya’s hopes of concluding a trade deal with the US by end of this year seem unlikely pushing the long draw talks into next year. The Kenyan government had in March this year expressed optimism of sealing a deal before the year ends, in its quest to secure preferential trade terms way before the expiry of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), in September 2025.  Kenya and the US have held three rounds of in-person negotiations...

21 December 2023

Kenya-US to deepen ICT, apparel and agriculture trade

Kenya and United States are in talks to identify areas of interest in information communication technology (ICT) sector that can interest US firms.  A meeting between The US Ambassador to Kenya, Megan Whitman, and the Cabinet Secretary for Investments, Trade, and Industry Rebecca Miano, the states sought cooperation in six key areas. The meeting laid the groundwork for an enhanced collaboration between Kenya and the United States in...

09 November 2023

Optimism as Kenya-US trade deal enters 3rd round of negotiations

Trade negotiations between Kenya and the United States entered the third round last week, with four items listed for negotiations. The Kenya-US Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) negotiations, held from October 4-7 in Washington DC, covered agriculture and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, services, domestic regulations, anti-corruption; and women, youth among others. The Kenyan trade team also held discussions with...

16 October 2023

Kenya-US trade agreement 'may need a rethink on workers'

The US and Kenya announced a trade and investment partnership in July 2022. Talks have been progressing on the way forward in nine areas, including agriculture, anti-corruption, digital trade, environment and climate change action, and workers’ rights and protections. The Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) will be the first significant trade partnership between the US and a country in sub-Saharan Africa. Countries in the...

16 August 2023

Biden cranks up diplomatic charm offensive in Kenya

In a span of two weeks, US President Joe Biden has dispatched two senior members of his administration to Nairobi with a firm message to President William Ruto on good governance, human rights and a subtle push on the geopolitics surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And Kenya, a longtime Western ally, is under pressure to maintain trading ties with the US. The timing of the visit was significant as Russia hosted over 17 African...

29 July 2023

You are here: Home/News/Article/Kenya, US trade talks resume in Nairobi, go for common ground