US Trade Rep. Katherine Tai and Kenya’s Trade CS Betty Maina at a past meeting
Kenya is currently seeking a placeholder trade partnership with the United States as negotiations for a fully-fledged free trade agreement (FTA) continue between the two countries.
Outgoing Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina said she expects the new administration under President William Ruto to continue engagements with the US.
“What we are currently in discussions over is the development of a strategic trade and investment partnership which is a placeholder for a full Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) in the future,” Maina said.
In July, Kenya and the US agreed on 10 key areas of collaboration including agriculture, anti-corruption, digital economy, environment, climate change, transparency, good regulatory practices, MSMEs, workers’ rights and youth and women participation.
CS Maina said the two nations would commence working within three months to develop a detailed roadmap for engagement in each of these issues.
The US team led by its Trade Representative Office (USTR) has been taking comments from various American and Kenyan companies until September 16th, with the two countries expected to resume negotiations in October.
Negotiators from both sides are seeking to come up with an agreement that will serve as a benchmark for trade engagements between the US and other African countries.
During a meeting on Monday, the outgoing Principal Secretary in the State Department of Trade and Kenya’s Chief Negotiator in the trade negotiations Amb. Johnson Waweru urged the private sector and the new administration to stand firm on the country’s demands at the negotiating table.
“Speak with one voice. What you have on the table between the negotiators should be the same script tabled to the UAE, the Americans, the British and Europeans, that’s what I ask of you,” he said.
Kenya is keen to ink a trade deal with the US ahead of the expiry of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) in 2025. AGOA gives Kenya and 40 other sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the US market for over 6,000 products.