The United States and Kenya have opened talks over a new trade deal which is expected to increase trade volumes between the two nations.
Trade between Kenya and US amounts to roughly $1bn annually and there hopes this could increase should a new deal be struck.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta held talks on Thursday at the White House over this move.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was then asked by President Trump to issue a formal notification to Congress about the new trade deal talks.
Lighthizer said “We believe this agreement with Kenya will complement Africa’s regional integration efforts.”
Kenyatta before the White House meeting told a forum his country wants to secure its economic future ahead of the expiry of the U.S. Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.
The pact which allows sub-Saharan African countries to export thousands of products to the United States without tariffs or quotas runs until 2025.
President Kenyatta held a meeting with US President @realDonaldTrump at the White House where they agreed to commence talks leading to a trade pact between Kenya & the US. The two leaders said a new trade pact would help increase trade & investment volumes between the two nations pic.twitter.com/27QXBvskGS
— State House Kenya (@StateHouseKenya) February 7, 2020
Kenyatta said a new trade deal could make Kenya a hub for U.S. companies doing business in Africa and beyond.
“It is this shared common value – belief in freedom, democracy and enterprise – that makes me believe that the United States can and should be the partner of choice for the African continent,” Kenyatta said.
He however allayed fears that a new trade deal with the USA would undermine the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
“At this juncture I just want to put away a few doubts because there has been a feeling that by Kenya engaging with the US to have a trade arrangement, we are running away from our commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Arrangement,” President Kenyatta said, according to a statement from his office.
“I want to assure you that there can be nothing further from the truth as that is definitely not the case,” the statement added.