Days before the retired president Moi’s death, the current president of Kenya, Uhuru Mwigai Kenyatta travelled to America to propose free trade deal with America. Unfortunately, critics have put the deal in question as they claim that it is a breach of continental trade protocol.
The deal would give Kenya more advantages like opening its borders for free trade while Nairobi would get a range of goods tax-free to the US. So far, the two parties share nearly $1 billion in trade annually.
Due to the rumors that the proposed deal is intended to replace the African Growth and Opportunities Act (Agoa) agreement, Nairobi argued that and said that is never the intention at all. The Agoa agreement expires in 2025.
However, East African Community (EAC) trade officials in Arusha revealed that the deal is potentially in breach of section 37 of the EAC Customs Union Protocol that requires a member state to inform its fellow members of any intention before signing any deal besides their Union.
On the other hand, US President Donald Trump seems to be reluctant of the multi-lateral trades deals and engage himself much more in signing bilateral free trades agreements with individual countries.
Kenya will be the first country from sub-Saharan Africa to sign a trade relationship with the US. Kenya’s former Trade Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya who accompanied Kenyatta in the trade talks in the US said that Agoa is the only route for Kenyan goods to access the US market.
“Agoa is the only route for Kenyan goods to access the US market,” Munya noted.
Munya added that Kenya will table the proposal once the US Congress gives them the way forward on the agreement so the EAC partners should not worry about that.
“The deal requires many months of negotiations because the US Congress is yet to debate and approve it,” he further elaborated.