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Kenyan exports to the US increase

Published date:
Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Partnerships between Kenyan traders and US host firms could help boost the profile of Kenya’s exports destined for the US market.

US envoy to Kenya Michael Ranneberger said that although huge business opportunities existed, Kenyan firms were yet to fully exploit them partly due to non-adherence to set guidelines and procedures for the American market.

“Dealing with firms that already know the market only helps to grow business,” he told a press briefing on Tuesday on the ongoing preparations for the eighth forum of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) meeting scheduled for July 4-6 in Nairobi.

He said there had been an increase in the value of Kenyan exports to the US market despite disruptions triggered by the disputed December 2007 presidential election which was an indication of the potential waiting to be tapped.

He therefore urged for additional efforts.

“The opportunities under Agoa are critical and can help Kenya recover from the slowdown,” he said, and challenged the government to fast-track economic and political reforms that would yield a suitable business environment.

Trade minister Amos Kimunya said sensitisation initiatives among local exporters were currently underway to try to eliminate shortcomings on regulatory conformity.

“We have an opportunity to reverse various challenges at the coming Agoa talks in Nairobi. We shall continue embracing a culture of free enterprise,” he said.

The US-Kenya trade profile has over the years been on an upswing thanks to various initiatives such as Agoa in which the US passed legislation to substantially open up its market to some 38 designated sub-Saharan Africa countries including Kenya.

The Agoa pact came to supplement then existing US trade arrangements with developing nations and sought to expand duty-free benefits that were previously only available under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

Though the Act originally covered the eight-year period from October 2000 to September 2008, amendments signed into law by US President George Bush in July 2004 further extended it to 2015—allowing the beneficiaries more time to engage in business.

Statistics showed that as at 2008 the returns from the Agoa initiative accounted for the bulk of Kenya’s total trade with the US, totalling some $300 million.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Kenya's bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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