The East African Business- 24 September 2022
Fears Kenya deal with US could hurt regional trade
The US says it is willing to restart negotiations on a future trade pact with Nairobi once a substantive government is in place.
The pursuit of a new trade pact between Washington and Kenya is eliciting old fears on whether it could hurt adherence to obligations under the East African Community, and hence continental ambitions for more commerce.
The US has confirmed it is willing to restart negotiations on a future trade pact with Nairobi once a substantive government is formed by President William Ruto. And although Washington says any trade agreements in Africa will adhere to the ambitions of more integration and trade as per the African Union, some of the suggestions could contradict it.
“What you see is right now we are pursuing a number of different initiatives, one of them in a very multilateral context in the Indo Pacific,” Katherine Tai, the US trade representative told The EastAfrican last week.
“What we are doing with Kenya is not because of a preference for bilateral versus multilateral,” she added.
Policy on mitumba
Tai, however, said the US government has no plans to change its policy on the exports of second hand clothes (mitumba) to Kenya despite plans to ban the trade through increase of taxes on cotton by the East African Community.