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Kenyatta: New US-Kenya trade deal presents zero threat to AfCFTA

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured Africans that a new bilateral trade deal between Kenya and the US won’t undermine the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The Kenyan leader spoke shortly after a meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House during which the two leaders agreed to commence talks leading to a trade pact between their two countries.

Kenyatta made the assurance when he addressed over 350 business leaders attending a US-Kenya Trade Forum in the US capital on Thursday, 6 February 2020.

He said the proposed new trade arrangement with the United States of America would in no way undermine Kenya’s commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

At the White House meeting, Presidents Kenyatta and Trump said a new trade agreement would help increase volumes of trade and investment between Kenya and the US.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer who spoke shortly after the meeting between Kenyatta and Trump said, America recognises Kenya as a leader in Africa and an important strategic partner of the US. He said a new trade agreement presents the two countries with a rare opportunity to explore ways of deepening Kenya-US economic and commercial ties.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we look forward to negotiating and concluding a comprehensive, high-standard agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for additional agreements across Africa,” Lighthizer stated.

In line with the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability law of 2015, the Trade Representative will now officially notify Congress of the US government’s intention to start trade negotiations with Kenya.

Currently, trade between Kenya and the US stands at about USD 1billion a year with over 70 percent of Kenya’s export into the expansive American market in 2018, worth USD 466 million, entering under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Kenyatta told the Kenya-US forum that his administration is committed to developing and concluding the strongest ever trade and investment framework that would deliver increased trade between the two nations.

“Today I want to assure all of you of Kenya’s unwavering commitment in developing the strongest ever trade investment framework with the United States of America.”

He dismissed speculation that Kenya is breaking away from its commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) saying the new arrangement with the US is only aimed at bolstering and deepening trade not only with Kenya but also with other African countries.

– APA

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