Kenya, US launch talks on free trade agreement
Kenya has launched negotiations on a free-trade agreement with the United States which is expected to serve “as a model for additional agreements across Africa,”
The US government formally launched talks with Kenya on Wednesday aimed at setting up a free trade agreement that could form the basis for deals with other African nations.
Kenya is seeking to expand its export market that “requires a trade arrangement that is predictable and guarantees preferential market access for Kenyan products”, Trade Minister Betty Maina said.
She added “Increasing and sustaining export performance to the United States requires a trade arrangement that is predictable and guarantees preferential market access for Kenyan products. Kenya is also keen to attract Foreign Direct Investment from the United States,”
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said “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,”
The launch of the negotiations comes before the expiry in 2025 of the preferential trade agreement now in place, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) which eliminates import tariffs on goods from eligible African nations.
Kenya hopes to promote the export of textiles, clothing, tea, coffee, and fish to the US – currently Kenya’s third-largest export market and seventh overall trading partner.