US trade agreement talks with Kenya get underway

The Trump administration notified Congress on March 17 that it would begin trade agreement negotiations with the East African country of Kenya.

“We look forward to negotiating and concluding a comprehensive, high-standard agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for additional trade agreements across Africa,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a statement

“Kenya is an important regional leader, a strategic partner of the United States, and a commercial hub that can provide substantial opportunities for U.S. trade and investment,” he said.

The Trump administration announced on February 6 its intent to start bilateral trade agreement negotiations with Kenya. President Donald Trump made the announcement after a meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the White House.

Under the 2015 Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act, or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the White House is required to notify and consult with Congress when embarking on trade agreement talks with other countries.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will also publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting the public’s input on the direction, focus and content of the trade negotiations. In addition, within the next 30 days, USTR will publish its objectives for trade negotiations with Kenya.

According to USTR, two-way goods trade between the U.S. and Kenya reached $1.1 billion last year, a 4.9% increase over 2018.

Top U.S. exports to Kenya in 2019 included aircraft ($59 million), plastics ($58 million), machinery ($41 million), and cereals (wheat) ($27 million), while U.S. imports of Kenyan products last year consisted of mostly apparel ($454 million), fruit and nuts ($55 million), titanium ores and concentrates ($52 million), and coffee ($34 million), USTR said.