Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Win for businesses as US politicians push for full trade deal with Kenya

By Gloria Rebecca

On Tuesday, May 21, the Senate Finance Committee in the United States wrote a letter to US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, urging negotiations for a trade deal with Kenya.

According to both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, a complete trade agreement would grant US manufacturers, farmers, and small business owners access to the Kenyan market.

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Additionally, the politicians remarked that the deal would enhance competitiveness in the Kenyan government to make high-standard commitments and reforms in various critical areas.

These areas include raising and enforcing Kenya’s informal economy and safeguarding the environment from degradation.

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Tai was urged to transition the ongoing trade discussion with Kenya into negotiations of a comprehensive and enforceable trade agreement. This is according the letter from the committee chairs Ron Wyden and Richard Neal.

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“An enforceable and comprehensive trade agreement with Kenya will help to create a standard for engagement with African nations moving forward,” the letter read in parts.

The chairs of the two committees emphasized that such implementation would safeguard workers and the environment and also support US workers and manufacturers.

Wyden and Neal further disclosed that the Biden administration was dedicated to enhancing relations with Kenya and would extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that is set to expire in September 2025.

“Trade agreements, when done right can be powerful drivers for good-paying, quality jobs that open new markets and create more customers for American small businesses, manufacturers, farmers and service providers, while raising the bar on human rights, labor standards and environmental protections around the world and leveling the playing field for American workers,” the duo added.

This call comes as President Ruto is in the US for a four-day state visit, during which he is expected to sign agreements in various sectors.

Tai and Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Maino recently concluded the fifth round of negotiations under the United States–Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership.

The two officials agreed on ways to increase investment, promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth that benefits workers, and support African regional economic integration.

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