Kenya and the US have held talks on signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) following a delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent US elections, and the change of guard at the White House.
Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina on Thursday said she held virtual talks with the new US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, following up on the trade negotiations that started under President Donald Trump's administration last year.
“In view of the recent transition in the US, Amb. Tai informed Kenya that she is reviewing the progress of the talks in alignment with the Biden-Harris Administration’s stated priorities in response to Covid-19, articulated under the 'Build Back Better' banner,” CS Maina said in a statement.
Maina and Tai underscored the need for both countries to be guided by a robust trade policy that will promote the “mutual interests of the majority of the Kenyan and American people.”
“This will ensure that trade partnerships support the development agenda of the two countries, including creating jobs and promoting economic growth,” CS Maina added.
The two nations commenced talks in July 2020, with a view of reaching a comprehensive agreement that will act as a model for similar pacts between the US and other African countries. So far, two rounds of negotiations have been conducted.
Kenya is keen on signing the agreement ahead of the 2025 expiry of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which gives Kenya and 40 other sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the expansive American market for over 6,000 products.