U.S. and Kenya Announce Free Trade Agreement Talks

On February 6, 2020, President Trump announced the United States of America plans to start negotiations of a free trade agreement with the Republic of Kenya. According to the United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer states, “Kenya is a recognized leader across the continent, an important strategic partner of the United States, and there is enormous potential for us to deepen our economic and commercial ties. Under President Trump’s leadership, we look forward to negotiating and concluding a comprehensive, high-standard agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for additional agreements across Africa.”

U.S. Kenya Free Trade Agreement

The Goal

The trade relationship will work toward a future bilateral trade and investment agreement, maximize the remaining years of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which was signed into law in 2000, strengthen commercial cooperation, and develop short-term solutions to reduce barriers to trade and investment.

U.S.-Kenya Relationship

The announcement took place at the third meeting of the U.S.-Kenya Trade and Investment Working Group. The meeting had other outcomes, as well:

  • Adoption of a phytosanitary protocol by Kenya that allows American wheat growers in Washington State, Oregon, and Idaho access to Kenya’s $470 million dollar wheat market for the first time in over a decade.
  • Development of a plan to provide technical assistance and trade capacity building with the aim of maximizing Kenya’s utilization of trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
  • A U.S.-Kenya Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Roundtable to identify and discuss ways to strengthen commercial cooperation in the SME sector and discuss the benefits to SMEs on both sides of reducing barriers and increasing trade between the United States and Kenya.
  • Site visit to the Howard University School of Business’ Small Business Development Center to exchange information on U.S. best practices to support the SME sector, which is a priority for President Kenyatta.

According to the USTR’s Fact Sheet on U.S.-Kenya Trade and Investment Relationship, ” Africa is growing rapidly and presents enormous opportunities for U.S. commercial and economic interests.  It is undergoing a transformative change toward greater regional integration, has among the highest growth rates globally, and will account for nearly a fifth of the world’s consumers by 2030.

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