Kenya: U.S. Eyes Big Chunk of Key Sectors in Trade Deal With Kenya

Jun 09, 2020 | The East African - All Africa

The United States government is seeking unfettered access to the Kenyan market in the proposed free trade agreement between Nairobi and Washington, which could have far-reaching implications on Kenya's critical agricultural sector and its industrialisation plans.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has made public a summary of key negotiation points in the proposed bilateral deal, which will see Kenya lift tariffs on all US agricultural products and open its maritime, textile, telecommunications financial services and other industries, including those classified as sensitive sectors to US investors.

Kenya's Trade and Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina, last week launched a secretariat to draft Nairobi's proposals in readiness for the negotiations expected to start in a few months, even as she sought to assure East African Community member countries that the free trade agreement will not breach regional trade protocols.

"We would like to assure our partners in the EAC and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that we do not intend to jeopardise our regional interests. The team will work putting in mind the promise we indicated in the letter to the EAC Heads of States in which we informed them regarding our intention to offer preferential market access to the US," said Ms Maina. Once the deal is signed, Nairobi expects to export a range of goods tax-free to the US.

'AMERICA FIRST' POLICY

President Donald Trump's administration has been pursuing an "America First" policy in its trade negotiations with other countries as part of his attempt to counter a surging Chinese economic and political influence around the world.

In the proposed FTA, the US is seeking to secure comprehensive market access for its agricultural goods in Kenya by reducing or eliminating tariffs and providing "reasonable" adjustment periods for import-sensitive agricultural products... Read more on All Africa

Source: All Africa