Kenya negotiates delicate trade pacts with billions at stake

Kenya’s bilateral and multilateral trade treaties with different partners are leading to some difficult times. Since the end of 2017, the Principal Secretary for Trade Chris Kiptoo has been holding high-level meetings with foreign representatives to make sure Kenya doesn’t lose out on preferential trade agreements signed in recent years.

The confusion arose after US President Trump came into office and due to the UK’s intention to quit the EU. Dr Kiptoo will be holding a meeting with US officials to discuss the future of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) under The National Trade Negotiation Council.

Recently, Trump announced that his administration is considering reviewing Agoa and cutting down on the preferential treatment that member states such as Kenya have been enjoying. The site quoted Kiptoo as saying: “We hope Trump keeps Agoa going. Former President Obama extended it by 10 years, and I am inclined to believe Trump will stick to that. After that, Kenya and other East African Community (EAC) countries can negotiate a new arrangement with the US which maybe could be a free trade arrangement.”

The talks come after Trump recently reviewed the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement - a free-trade agreement between the US and eleven countries circling the Pacific Ocean, and rejected it

Concerning the Brexit situation, talks between British and Kenyan delegations were supposed to explain Kenya’s stand on Brexit and the implications that it will have on trade and investment relations between the two countries. The UK is not letting it be known whether Kenya’s and other EAC member state’s exports will continue enjoying entry into the British market duty free and quota free after March 2019 when it finally exits the EU. Currently, 27.8 percent of Kenya’s exports to the EU are destined for the UK market.

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