Summary of Specific Negotiating Objectives for the initiation of United States-Kenya trade agreement negotiations

Summary of Specific Negotiating Objectives for the initiation of United States-Kenya trade agreement negotiations

29 May 2020


On March 17, 2020, the Trump Administration notified Congress that the President intends to negotiate a trade agreement with the Republic of Kenya, in accordance with section 105(a)(1)(A) of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act). This notification was made following a February 6, 2020, meeting at the White House between President Trump and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta where the two presidents agreed to pursue negotiations on a trade agreement between the United States and Kenya.

In pursuing negotiations on a trade agreement with Kenya, the Office of the United State Trade Representative (USTR) is responding to Congress’ support, as expressed in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), to negotiate reciprocal and mutually beneficial trade agreements that serve the interests of both the United States and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The vision is to conclude an agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for additional agreements in Africa, leading to a network of agreements that contribute to Africa’s regional integration objectives. In addition, the goal is to conclude an agreement that builds on the objectives of AGOA and will serve as an enduring foundation to expand U.S.-Africa trade and investment across the continent.

The USTR seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and grow the U.S. economy by improving U.S. opportunities for trade and investment with Kenya. The current health crisis and economic challenges posed by COVID-19 underscore the desire to strengthen the US economic relationship with Kenya and lay the foundations for stronger, more resilient economies to address the current and future health crises. The specific objectives of the USTR for this negotiation will comply with the specific objectives set forth by Congress in section 102 of the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act. In doing so, the aim is to address both tariff and non-tariff barriers and to achieve fairer, more balanced trade.

As a part of the process of formulating these objectives, on March 23, 2020, the Office of the USTR solicited public comments by Federal Register notice regarding objectives and positions for a U.S.-Kenya trade agreement and received over 5,000 submissions.*

Featured submissions:

* In light of COVID-19, the hearing scheduled for April 28, 2020 was cancelled. The USTR extended the deadline for written comments until April 28.

Summary of Specific Negotiating Objectives for the Initiation of United States-Kenya Negotiations


  • Seek a mutually beneficial trade agreement that can serve as a model for additional agreements across Africa.

  • Support regional integration, where appropriate.

  • Build on the objectives of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, promote good governance and the rule of law.

Trade in Goods

  • Ensure fair, balanced, and reciprocal trade with Kenya.

  • Increase transparency in import and export licensing procedures.

  • Discipline import and export monopolies to prevent trade distortions.

Trade in Services

  • Secure commitments from Kenya to provide fair and open conditions for services trade, including through:

    • Rules that apply to all services sectors, including rules that prohibit:

      • Discrimination against foreign services suppliers;

      • Restrictions on the number of services suppliers in the market; and

      • Requirements that cross-border services suppliers establish a local presence.

    • Specialized sectoral disciplines, including rules to help level the playing field for U.S. delivery services suppliers in Kenya; and

    • Where any exceptions from core disciplines are needed, the negotiation, on a negative list basis, of the narrowest possible exceptions with the least possible impact on U.S. firms.

  • Retain flexibility for U.S. non-conforming measures, including U.S. non-conforming measures for maritime services.

  • Improve the transparency and predictability of regulatory procedures in Kenya.

Source USTR
Date 29 May 2020
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