The private sector players are looking to capitalize on trade with the U.S. as the Kenyan government seeks to enter into a bilateral trade deal with it.
The stakeholders are discussing ways they will take advantage of the opportunities that will arise from the free U.S. Trade Agreement on investment and trade.
On Thursday, The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), in partnership with the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), held a meeting with the leaders and state officials to discuss some of the opportunities.
“It is an opportunity for the private sectors of both the U.S. and Kenya to deepen trade and investment ties in key sectors from energy to banking, construction, ICT/digital trade, health, manufacturing and services trade,” CCA president and CEO Florizelle Liser said yesterday.
The country will have an opportunity to increase its exports to the U.S., as noted by Kepsa CEO Carol Kariuki. She had accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta in his visit to the U.S., where he and his counterpart Donald Trump said the talks towards establishing a trade pact between the two countries had begun.
According to the Kepsa CEO, traders in the country will have an opportunity to grow their businesses significantly.
“Kenya should draw lessons from Morocco on the challenges and opportunities that are emerging with the free trade agreement between them and the U.S. to learn and eventually do better,” she said.
Currently, about Sh100 billion is traded between the two countries a year, with Kenya exporting goods worth Sh46.6 billion under the African Growth and Opportunity (AGOA).
The AGOA pact was signed in 2000 and will expire in five years. It has played a pivotal role in enabling the Sub-Sahara African countries to trade with the US, Kenya, included. The African nations enjoy duty-free exports on a select list of 6,421 goods.
“As we speak, there is a government team that is also dissecting the deliberations that took place in Washington last week. Kenya has a great appetite for this opportunity,” said the State Department of Trade P.S. Amb. Johnson Weru, during the meeting, congratulating the private sector for deciding to join hands with the government.
According to the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter, the agreement will not only benefit Kenya but the continent at large.
“A successful U.S.-Kenya FTA will stand as a landmark for East Africa and all of Africa,” he said.