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Updated Feb 2, 2020

The United States is expected to announce negotiations on a free-trade agreement with Kenya, the first time for such a deal to be struck between a sub-Saharan African country and the US. A formal announcement on the discussions will be made during Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Washington, DC. 

Depending on the negotiations, says Kenya’s principal secretary for foreign affairs, Macharia Kamau, they anticipates substantial progress will be made on a trade deal by the third quarter of 2020.

The proposed deal will not replace the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), signed into law in 2000 under former president Bill Clinton. It guarantees duty-free access to the US for more than 6,500 goods from 39 sub-Saharan countries. Speaking with Bloomberg, Kamau said that the deal going forward will “deepen and expand” AGOA. In 2015, AGOA was extended for another ten years under former president Barack Obama.

A trade deal such as this is being used as a test template for future bilateral trade negotiations between the United States and Africa, according to Tibor Nagy, the US assistant secretary of state for African affairs. 

Whereas the US favors bilateral trade agreements with African nations, Nagy said in the same interview. That differs from the view held by the African Union, which favors a free-trade agreement to replace AGOA when it expires, AU Trade and Industry Commissioner Albert Muchanga said at the time.

Nagy says the US prefers bilateral trade agreements with African countries, a view that differs from the African Union’s stance, which prefers a free-trade agreement to replace AGOA once it expires, according to the African Union’s trade and industry commissioner Albert Muchanga.

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