Nairobi — The governments of Kenya and the US have launched negotiations for a landmark Free Trade Agreement, that will pave way for trade and investment relations between the two countries.
Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina says the agreement, which is the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa, will provide continued market access for Kenyan goods to the expansive US market.
It will also enable both countries to commit themselves to increase trade between them by reducing trade barriers, including tariffs and import quotas.
Maina also expects the proposed agreement to expand trade and investment opportunities that will enhance the prosperity of the country's economy, as well as regional economies.
"When concluded, the Free Trade Agreement will be a milestone for Kenya-US partnership in trade and development cooperation. It will expand trade and investment opportunities that will greatly benefit our two countries," Maina said.
Under the deal, Kenya's exports will retain duty and quota free access to the US market, cementing the gains achieved during the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) that enabled Kenya to diversify and increase the value of exports to the US market.
Between 2009 and 2019, the value of Kenya's exports to the US increased from Sh17.4 billion to Sh51.9 billion.
Over 70 percent of these earnings were from horticulture, apparels and textiles.
The US has 14 FTAs with 20 countries across the world.
In Africa, Morocco was the first in 2004 to conclude an agreement, hence, Kenya will be the second African country upon successful conclusion of the negotiations.
The negotiations, which will be held virtually and led by Maina officially kick-off Thursday and will take place for 12 months.
The negotiations come ahead of the anticipated lapse of the African Growth and Opportunities Act, popularly known as AGOA, on September 30, 2025.