US To Explore Other Means of Trade with Kenya Ahead of The Delayed Free Trade Deal


The United States will consider other means of trade with Kenya despite the pending free trade deal. Kenyan has been frustrated by the pace at which the United States has been working on the deal. The free trade deal was aimed at promoting bilateral trade between the countries.

A report submitted to the congress by the United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai indicated that the US government was exploring other ways of strengthening their trade relations with Kenya outside the free trade agreement (FTA).

In the report, Ms. Tai says the US will hold talks with Kenya to expand commercial ties through an FTA or other means to stimulate development and promote more equitable and worker-centered trade with Kenya.

Being the US Trade Representative, Ms. Tai works as President Joe Biden’s principal adviser, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade-related matters.

The United States and Kenya had engaged in trade talks at the beginning of this month, raising hopes of a new direction following President Biden’s move to freeze Trump-era negotiations on free trade.

Timelines Are Yet To Be Agreed On

However, a statement released from Washington regarding the new trade talks between the United States and Kenya did not reveal when the talks would be concluded, indicating a persistent deadlock.

Mid this month, Washington said in a statement that the US Trade Representative for African Affairs, Constance Hamilton, led a team of US representatives to Kenya, where they held several meetings with the Kenyan government from 3rd May to 6th May.

According to Adam Hodge, USTR spokesperson, they discussed many topics and established key areas that would strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

The delay in the trade deal has been attributed to the decision by the US government to further examine the Donald Trump negotiation deal.

Negotiations With Partners

The US government has instead prioritized negotiations with trading partners. Kenya could not secure a deal with Washington before the expiry of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). The legislation provides sub-Saharan counties with tariff-free access to the US market until 2025.

Through Agoa, 40 African countries can sell more than 6,000 products in the United States without paying duty. Kenya currently holds the 96th position as the largest exporter of goods to the United States.

Chamber Of Commerce Lobbies The US To Conclude Deal With Kenya

At the beginning of this month, the United States Chamber of Commerce vented their frustration at Biden’s delay in concluding the new trade deal with Kenya.

The deal was termed a “low-hanging fruit”, saying it should have been concluded a long time ago. The chamber’s president Suzanne Clark said the US government was hesitating on signing new deals, yet they’ve not entered an agreement with a trade partner for ten years.  The negotiations for bilateral trade between the United States and Kenya were officially signed on 8th July 2020.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons 

About Nyambura Tabitha

Tabitha Nyambura is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with years of experience in digital publishing. Her focus is on politics and the economy. She has worked as a freelance journalist for ten years and continues to bring interesting stories that matter to readers all across East Africa.