The United States and the Kenyan government are set to hold negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries in early February 2020.
Reports from financial news outlet Bloomberg indicated that the negotiations would be the first-ever between the US and Sub-saharan Africa, the only other country benefitting from the agreement in the continent being Morocco.
Foreign Affairs PS Ambassador Macharia Kamau confirmed to Kenyans.co.ke on Wednesday, January 29, that the country was indeed hoping to begin negotiations with the US in the near future.
"We are waiting for Cabinet approval for the negotiations begin. There is no agreement between Kenyans and the US as of yet. It is just to see whether we will start negotiation on the same," he stated.
FTAs not only reduce and eliminate tariffs but also help in addressing trade barriers that would otherwise impede the flow of goods and services; encourage investment and improve the rules affecting issues like e-commerce and government procurement.
Macharia expressed optimism that if the negotiations go through as the Kenyan government anticipates, the country could benefit from the agreement in numerous ways.
"We hope that it would improve our trade relations with the US and increase job opportunities for Kenyans and increase travel between the two countries for more tourism and impact other sectors of the economy," he intimated.
Macharia also stated that Kenya was well positioned to gain due to the generally balanced trade exchange between Kenya and the US government, despite the two countries being in different economic brackets.
"Until very recently, we were getting more than they were getting (from Kenya) and the trade imbalance only shifted to their advantage a year ago. There is nothing to do with developed or underdeveloped countries. It is only about whether you are serious about exporting or not. We are almost at a trade balance as is it right now," he intimated.
Bloomberg indicated that the Free Trade Agreement would be the Trump administration's model for future pacts with other nations in the Sub-Saharan region.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, is set to visit the US early in February, alongside ODM leader Raila Odinga to address the International Lunch, a precursor to the US National Prayer Breakfast held between February 5 and 6, 2020,
Reports indicated that the two leaders have been invited to address the exclusive event on the impact of the handshake on Kenya's political, social and economic atmosphere.
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