US, Kenya Begin Trade and Investment Partnership Talks

By Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.
July 15, 2022 Updated: July 18, 2022

The United States and Kenya have created a new investment and trade partnership covering a wide range of industries and aiming to tackle corruption and protect the rights of workers, among other issues.

The United States–Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) was announced during a virtual meeting between U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Kenyan Development Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina.

Both nations agreed to “foster sustainable agricultural practices” and create an environment for the development of innovative agriculture technologies that will help farmers and ensure food security, as well as address “climate change concerns,” according to a July 14 statement from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The United States and Kenya will discuss integrating micro, small, and medium enterprises into international trade. They’ll also initiate “periodic technical best practices exchanges and roundtables” on these enterprises.

Simplifying trade and customs procedures, promoting the use and development of secure digital infrastructure, and pursuing measures related to climate change adaptation and mitigation will be discussed as part of the partnership.

Both countries plan on advancing and protecting labor rights and tackling the issue of forced labor in global supply chains. Special focus will be given to supporting the participation of youth and women in trade. Washington and Nairobi will seek to prevent and combat corruption and bribery.

“I look forward to working with the Kenyan government over the next few months to build out this partnership and grow our trade and investment relationship in a way that promotes resilience and facilitates sustainable and inclusive economic growth that benefits our workers and our planet,” Tai said in a statement.

Bilateral Trade

In 2021, the United States exported goods worth $561.6 million to Kenya, with the biggest export items being wheat, plastics, machinery, and aircraft. Kenya exported $685.1 million worth of goods to the United States last year, with top items including titanium ores, coffee, tea, macadamia nuts, and apparel.

An attempt to negotiate a trade deal with Kenya began in 2020 under the Trump administration. However, no concrete progress was made over the past two years, with the Biden administration failing to resume these talks until now.

The newly announced STIP deal between the two nations doesn’t mention any reduction in tariffs or enhancement of market access.

Kenya is one of the nations that has made the utmost use of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)—a trade preference program that gives sub-Saharan African nations duty-free access to the U.S. market.

In 2021, more than 75 percent of goods from Kenya entered duty-free under the AGOA program. In 2018, Kenya had the second-highest utilization rate among all the beneficiary African nations. AGOA is set to expire in September 2025.

Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.