Citing wheat protocol, U.S. to negotiate trade agreement with Kenya
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative cited a wheat phytosanitary protocol today when President Donald Trump announced the United States intends to initiate trade agreement negotiations with the Republic of Kenya following a meeting at the White House with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Kenya is a recognized leader across the continent, an important strategic partner of the United States, and there is enormous potential for us to deepen our economic and commercial ties,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
“Under President Trump’s leadership, we look forward to negotiating and concluding a comprehensive, high-standard agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for additional agreements across Africa.
“We believe this agreement with Kenya will complement Africa’s regional integration efforts, including in the East African Community and the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the United States pledges its continued support to help the AfCFTA achieve its fullest potential. We believe a trade agreement between the United States and Kenya will receive broad bipartisan support in Congress,” Lighthizer said.
Lighthizer said he will officially notify Congress of the administration’s intention to start negotiations following the consultations with Congress that are required by the trade promotion authority law.
In accordance with TPA, USTR will publish objectives for the negotiations at least 30 days before trade negotiations begin.
USTR noted that the U.S.-Kenya Trade and Investment Working Group held its third meeting in Washington this week and that its outcome included adoption of a phytosanitary protocol by Kenya that allows American wheat growers in Washington State, Oregon and Idaho access to Kenya’s $470 million dollar wheat market for the first time in over a decade.
USTR said annual exports of wheat to Kenya from other regions in the United States between January to November 2019 (latest data available) were $27 million. Kenya’s demand for wheat is expected to substantially increase in the coming years due in part to an expanding food service sector, USTR said.
Total trade trade between the two countries stands at about $1 billion a year. Over 70 percent ($466 million in 2018) of Kenya’s exports to the United States entered under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.