The US government is looking beyond a delayed trade deal with Kenya to expand commercial ties between the two countries amid Nairobi’s mounting frustration with Washington’s slow pace to conclude the deal.
In a new report submitted to the United States Congress by Joe Biden’s top trade diplomat Katherine Tai, the American government revealed it would pursue “other means” of deepening trade engagements with Kenya in the absence of a free trade agreement (FTA).
“(We will) engage with Kenya to deepen bilateral trade, potentially through an FTA or other means, to spur Kenyan development and promote more equitable, worker-centric trade with Kenya,” said the United States Trade Representative Office in the report seen by Business Daily outlining its objectives for this year.
Ms Tai, who is the head of USTR, is the United States Trade Representative, a member of the country’s Cabinet who serves as President Biden’s principal trade adviser, negotiator, and spokesperson on the trade agenda.
The United States government and Kenya early this month held another round of trade talks, which raised hopes of a fresh direction after the Biden administration froze Trump-era negotiations on the free trade agreement.
The proposed trade deal has faced delays after the Biden administration sought more time to scrutinise the pact negotiated by Donald Trump. The Biden administration has instead focused on dialogues with trading partners.
Kenya wanted to do a deal with Washington before the expiry of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which allows sub-Saharan African countries to export thousands of products to the US without tariffs or quotas until 2025.
Agoa grants 40 African States quota and duty-free access to the United States market of more than 6,000 product lines.