tralac-KAM AGOA Awareness workshops – Kenya, November 2017
In the week of 13 November, TRALAC, represented by Associate Eckart Naumann and Kenya-based Associate Dr Henry Mutai, was invited to partner with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) in presenting two 1-day AGOA Awareness seminars, in Mombasa and Nairobi respectively. These seminars built on previous collaboration with KAM at the same venues more than a year previously. Delegates represented a cross-section of industries and stakeholders, including existing exporters and potential exporters.
In providing a greater value proposition to delegates, KAM had also arranged complementary presentations by the Kenya Revenue Authority KRA (on AGOA-related customs issues and formalities in Kenya, and local Rules of Origin administration) as well as the country’s immigration authorities (which addressed issues such as work permits for foreign technical staff and investors).
AGOA’s term was extended by a further 10 years mid-2015, 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 still remains concentrated in a relatively small number of sectors, although very promising export-growth has been achieved in some agricultural sectors recently, for example nuts and certain fruit.
The workshop reflected on the legislative environment around AGOA – for example reviewing changes to the legislation when AGOA was renewed in 2015. It also focused in detail on rules of origin requirements, product coverage, assessed Kenya’s overall export profile against AGOA product eligibility, and reviewed recent trade trends in a range of key sectors. With the new US government administration’s increased focus on country eligibility compliance, these issues were highlighted.
In this context the seminar also reflected on the current “second-hand clothing” issues in East Africa, and how domestic policies can conflict with AGOA’s express eligibility rules and threaten preferential access to the US market in cases of non-compliance. The seminars also reviewed information resources on AGOA, focusing on tralac’s AGOA.info web portal, helping exporters and potential exporters easily access a wide range of resources on AGOA that will assist them with exploiting international trade opportunities.