“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 trade relations,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “Under President Trump`s leadership, we look forward to negotiating and concluding a comprehensive and highly standardized agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for additional agreements across Africa. Once negotiations are formally initiated, the final signatures of a trade agreement could be delayed by several years. Negotiators will have to take details on many sensitive issues, including Kenya`s commitments to AfCFTA (which are not yet clear), the purchase of U.S. agricultural products and environmental protection. And even if an agreement has been reached, it must be approved by Congress, a process that has halted other major Trump efforts, such as the revised U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. After all, there is no doubt that the United States will be interested in liberalizing Kenya`s agriculture and services as part of its ambition to compete with the EU as an excellent agricultural exporter. Each country maintains a short list of goods that it can protect either for reasons of protection of the child industry or for safety reasons. Kenya`s strictly protected products include wheat, matches, rice and cement, which for some varieties of rice can benefit from tariffs of up to 75%. The discussions between Kenya and the United States on a free trade agreement are yet another sign of an improvement in the competitiveness of U.S. businesses in one of the continent`s most dynamic economies and regions.
They also pave the way for Kenyan companies to build on AGOA`s successes, while ensuring commercial benefits such as market access beyond 2025. In concluding this agreement, the United States will send a strong signal that it is serious about the importance of Africa, its people and its long-term prosperity. Related Content Africa in Focus The ABC Triangle: AfCFTA, Brexit and COVID-19 to work for Africa Chuku Chuku Tuesday 30 June 2020 Africa focuses on trade in uncertain times: prioritizing regional value chains to accelerate Economic Development in East Africa Andrew Mold and Anthony Mveyange Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Africa will focus on governance in Africa the conditions of competition for U.S. trade cooperation with the Witney region , 28 January 2020 The launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been postponed due to coronavirus. Experts believe that the pandemic could help boost the ambitious free trade project. “Kenya and the United States have strong trade relations, exemplified by the increase in exports and imports, which have increased over the years,” said Maina, secretary of the firm. The United States of America is an important target market for Kenya, a position that was maintained in the years following the East African Community (EAC), the European Union (EU) and the East and South African Common Market (COMESA). The United States and Kenya formally began negotiations for a free trade agreement on July 8, 2020. As the United States prepares for presidential elections in a few months, these talks may not attract the world`s attention.
But as a prototype assessment of the substance of future U.S.-Africa trade relations, much is going on in Washington, which is using the agreement to make a bold statement of its commitment to an effective north-south free trade agreement.