Ruto adopts Uhuru’s draft trade deal with America

President Ruto

President William Ruto. FILE  PHOTO | POOL

The Ruto administration has adopted the key areas of cooperation agreed upon by the previous regime in the proposed trade deal with the US, setting the stage for the negotiations to progress ahead of 2025 deadline.

President William Ruto’s negotiating team went through the 11 pillars of the proposed trade deal with their US counterparts in Washington last week and agreed to forge ahead with the talks “in the coming months”.

The Kenyan delegation, led by Trade PS Alfred K’Ombudo, and the US delegation “exchanged views” on the key concepts agreed on last July without introducing new clauses, according to the statement after the week-long meeting.

The US-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership, launched by the Biden administration, will replace the two-decade-old Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

The current Agoa deal, a preferential trade programme that allows duty- and quota-free access to the US market for sub-Saharan African countries, will expire in September 2025.

Trade between the two countries is tilted in favour of Kenya, which exported goods worth Sh82.2 billion in 2021, largely articles of apparel under the duty-free Agoa.

The US, on the other hand, exported goods valued at Sh67.3 billion, largely pharmaceutical products and aircraft.

The negotiating teams have been tasked to develop a roadmap for enhanced engagement on 11 pillars.

They include facilitating agricultural trade, fostering consumer, business and worker trust in the digital economy, protecting the environment, integrating micro, small and medium enterprises into international trade as well as preventing and combating all forms of corruption.

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