According to Reuters, the United States and Kenya have agreed to launch negotiations that could lead to the first U.S. bilateral trade deal with a sub-Saharan African country. U.S. President Donald Trump and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the intention to start formal talks on a trade agreement after meeting at the White House.

“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,” said U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer in a statement. “We believe a trade agreement between the United States and Kenya will receive broad bipartisan support in Congress.”

Annual exports of wheat to Kenya from other regions in the United States between January to November 2019 were $27 million, according to the USTR press release. Kenya’s demand for wheat is expected to increase in the coming years due in part to an expanding foodservice sector.

Trade between the two countries stands at about $1 billion a year. More than 70% ($466 million in 2018) of Kenya’s exports to the United States entered under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which allows sub-Saharan African countries to export thousands of products to the United States without tariffs or quotas until 2025.

Reuters article

USTR press release

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