Editorials

See beyond stalled US deal

Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden speaks during climate change virtual summit from the East Room of the White House campus April 22, 2021, in Washington, DC. PHOTO | AFP

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Summary

  • Many US firms are said to have frozen investment plans in Kenya due to uncertainty about a new free trade deal between the two countries.
  • The stalled deal should not make Kenya lose sight of other key windows that can still deepen its trade ties with US firms.
  • The current arrangement under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which expires in 2025, has largely been underutilised.

Many US firms are said to have frozen investment plans in Kenya due to uncertainty about a new free trade deal between the two countries.

Prospects of a fresh bilateral trade and investment pact between Washington and Nairobi are in a limbo following the expiry of a key law that would have expedited its approval by Congress.

The stalled deal should not make Kenya lose sight of other key windows that can still deepen its trade ties with US firms.

The current arrangement under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which expires in 2025, has largely been underutilised.

The country can still utlise this window that allows sub-Saharan African countries to export thousands of products to the US without tariffs or quotas.

Kenya should also step up its marketing by aggressively showcasing what it can offer to US firms, even in the absence of a new trade deal.

The delays in the deal should also allow Kenya an opportunity to think through the proposals around tariffs and quotas since these will greatly shape the future of trade with the US.