Kenya Anticipates Signing a Trade Cooperation Agreement With The US Within a Year

Posted on : Friday , 9th June 2023

According to trade minister Moses Kuria, Kenya anticipates concluding negotiations for a trade and investment agreement with the United States by the end of this year and signing the document by April 2024.

Kenya is a significant beneficiary of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a preferential trade scheme that will end in 2025, and is one of the United States' top trading partners in Africa.

In an interview in London on Wednesday, Kuria said that the agreement would not address tariffs but rather supplement AGOA and soften the hit for Kenya if the programme is not extended. Kuria had just met with British trade authorities.

Kuria declared that "both the Kenyan and American sides were moving forward at full speed. We will have concluded the actual negotiations by the end of this year to clear the way for a signing, most likely by April of the next year."

In order to reduce tariffs between the two countries, the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump started talks for a comprehensive free trade agreement with Kenya in 2020. But the Joe Biden administration, which has avoided traditional trade agreements, did not pick up those discussions.

As an alternative, it chose to hold discussions about a non-tariff alliance aimed at raising labour and production standards in Kenyan economic sectors including agriculture and digital services in ways that support US trade and investment.

Last year, the deputy U.S. trade representative stated that the administration has left open the possibility of subsequently holding more extensive trade talks with Kenya.

When contacted for comment, a United States Trade Representative (USTR) representative declined to comment on Kuria's timeframe.

The spokesperson stated, "Building on the success of the conceptual discussion round in early February, we look forward to fruitful discussions on key concepts during the first negotiating round in Kenya next month."

Kenya was deemed eligible for AGOA in 2000, but the White House and Congress have made little indication that they want to prolong it. More than 75% of Kenya's $685.1 million in exports to the US in 2021 qualified for duty-free entry under AGOA.

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