Kenya-US free trade deal to benefit private sector-KEPSA

President Uhuru Kenyatta and US President Donald T

Free trade agreement between Kenya and the United States takes yet another opportunity following a roundtable discussion between government officials from both countries, and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA).

The move was enhanced to explore how the private sector can support the bilateral effort and take full advantage of investment and trade opportunities that will arise from the deal.

This comes as a follow up to the recent visit of President Kenyatta to US, which led to the two countries reaching at free trade agreement (FTA).

The deal will be the first US FTA with a sub-Saharan African nation and potentially a model nation will use to enhance its trade and investment relationship with other African countries.

Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) CEO Florizelle Liser noted that a Kenya-US FTA could build on Kenya's success in trading value-added products under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

"It is also an opportunity for the private sectors of both the U.S. and Kenya to deepen trade and investment ties in key sectors from energy to banking, construction, ICT/digital trade, health, manufacturing and services trade," said Ms. Liser.

Ms. Liser mentioned that the roundtable today was the first of many that CCA plans on hosting with KEPSA as a long-time partner.

“We would like to use this platform to provide regular updates on ongoing negotiations, ensure private sector participation and support, and extract real time opportunities for businesses,” she added.

KEPSA CEO Carole Karuga emphasized the importance of growth of the FTA between Kenya and the USA stating that the increased trade opportunity for export and import would lead to growth of business.

Ms. Karuga pointed out that Kenya is the leader of the East African Community and went further to underscore that Kenya, among the businesses in Africa participating in global trade, is leading the pact.

“Kenya should draw lessons from Morocco on the challenges and opportunities that are emerging with the free trade agreement between them and the US in order to learn and eventually do better,” she urged.

US Ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter said, “We look forward to working together to create a free-trade agreement that allows Kenyan and American businesses to benefit from increased access to each other’s markets and one where both our consumers will enjoy greater prosperity though expanded choice and competition within the marketplace. A successful U.S.-Kenya FTA will stand as a landmark for East Africa and for all of Africa.”

PS, State Department of Trade, Amb. Johnson Weru appreciated the synergy between Government and private sector, adding that the government is willing to walk this journey together with the private sector.

“As we speak there is a government team that is also dissecting the deliberations that took place in Washington last week. Kenya has a great appetite for this opportunity,” said Mr. Weru.



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