tralac-KAM AGOA Awareness workshops – Kenya, August 2016
tralac, represented by tralac Associate Eckart Naumann, was invited to partner with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) in presenting two 1-day AGOA Awareness workshops, in Nairobi and Mombasa respectively. Delegates represented a cross-section of industries, and also included freight forwarders, government departments and institutions, such as the Kenya Revenue Authority, which presented on exporter paperwork and origin certification processes specific to Kenya. Dr Henry Mutai, tralac Associate, provided opening remarks at the workshops.
AGOA was last year renewed for a further 10 years, and Kenya has emerged as one of the more successful exporters under AGOA in terms of non-oil exports. It has also become the leading exporter of apparel under the Act, overtaking countries such as Lesotho, Madagascar and Mauritius. Nevertheless, trade remains concentrated in a relatively small number of sectors, and efforts are afoot to significantly expand Kenya’s AGOA exports. Kenya is currently also revising its official AGOA utilisation strategy, building on and updating its policy document from 2012.
The workshop reflected on the legislative environment around AGOA – not just in terms of a historic perspective, but reviewing changes to the legislation when AGOA was renewed in 2015. Given the greater focus on ongoing compliance with AGOA’s eligibility requirements, and the potential consequences for a sector – or indeed a country – of non-compliance, the workshop also reflected on lessons learned from the recent experiences involving South Africa and the “chicken, beef and pork” saga and possible policy implications for other AGOA beneficiaries with respect to their national industrial or investment policies, for example.
Other focus areas included the updated rules of origin provisions and associated technical details, product coverage and eligibility, Kenya’s trade profile with the United States (and more specifically under AGOA), as well as some of the implications of other related developments, such as the (AGOA) preference erosion brought about by other trade agreements of the United States, the changing political landscape (and greater appetite for new, reciprocal preferential trade arrangements with African countries), general rewards (and some caveats) associated with AGOA trade, and so on.
The workshop also reviewed information resources on AGOA, focusing on tralac’s AGOA.info web portal, along with near-term plans for a further expansion on this resource, with African exporters in mind.