Kenya pursues fresh ties with US investors

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022 05:38 | By
President William Ruto PHOTO/Courtesy

President William Ruto is looking forward to establishing new relationships and strategic partnerships with the US business community and enhancing Kenya’s economic and social transformation.

Ruto who spoke in New York yesterday during a high-level business roundtable hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce on trade and investment relationships between Kenya and the US, said his administration is ready for investment.

“Investors can predict the future of Kenya because it is a democratic country. We have demonstrated as the people of Kenya, that the rule of law underpins public affairs,” he said. This is Ruto’s first Tour of the US as Kenya’s Presidents President.

A dispatch from the Presidential Press Unit, said the discussions explored ways in which the US business community can partner with Kenyan industries to achieve the President’s vision and development agenda.

Kenya has an elaborate trade treaty with US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) which lapses in 2025. The two countries are currently negotiating for a Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement to replace Agoa.

Trading partner

The US is currently Kenya’s 96th largest goods trading partner with $1.1 billion (Sh132.44 billion) in total two way goods trade by 2019, where goods exports totalled $401 million (Sh48.28 billion ) with imports standing at $667 million (Sh80.28 billion) while the US goods trade deficit with Kenya was $266 million.

The FTA technical teams are hoping that the agreement will build on the Agoa gains, as they seek to thrash out the challenges and benefits of a potential FTA. The benefits include opportunities for increased predictability and transparency, expanding reciprocal trade while preserving the benefits of the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa). Others are engaging small industries and opportunities to facilitate digital trade, strengthen IP protections and find solutions to agricultural issues.

US negotiators at the Kenya-US FTA said the agreement should contain obligations relating to transparency, anti-corruption, good regulatory practices and government procurement, factors they said are prerequisites to improving the business environment in Kenya, and encourage more US investments into the country.

Kenyan business executives have been upbeat about the FTA talks, which they reckon will introduce more predictable commercial relations by removing uncertainty associated with Agoa’s annual eligibility review process. Over 70 per cent of Kenyan exports to the US are covered by Agoa which lapses in 2025.

President Ruto also held business meetings about fertiliser production and green energy to enhance Kenya’s agricultural production, job creation and development of a more resilient economy.

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