U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday officially notified Congress that he will negotiate a free-trade agreement with Kenya.
Lighthizer must submit formal goals for the bilateral talks 30 days before the talks actually begin, something that hasn’t happened yet. Lighthizer said it would be at least 90 days before those negotiations begin.
U.S. farm groups and farm equipment companies are counting on USTR to negotiate terms that reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers and open up new export opportunities. Kenya could be buying more U.S. wheat, rice, chicken and tractors, but the potential is much bigger than just increased access to one country.
U.S. industry and government officials are counting on the FTA to pave the way for freer trade across the continent.
“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 trade agreements across Africa,” Lighthizer said in a statement Tuesday. “Kenya is an important regional leader, a strategic partner of the United States, and a commercial hub that can provide substantial opportunities for U.S. trade and investment.”
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