The United States Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, and Kenya’s Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary, Betty Maina, on Thursday launched the United States-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP).
Building on their June 13, 2022 meeting in Geneva, Ambassador Tai and Cabinet Secretary Maina agreed that their governments will pursue enhanced engagement leading to high standard commitments in a wide range of areas with a view to increasing investment; promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth; benefiting workers, consumers, and businesses (including micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises); and supporting African regional economic integration.
They identified the following initial issues where the United States and Kenya will develop an ambitious roadmap for enhanced cooperation with the goal of negotiating high-standard commitments in order to achieve economically meaningful outcomes:
- Agriculture. The United States and Kenya will consider measures to facilitate agricultural trade and enhance transparency and understanding of the application of science- and risk-based Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures. The two sides share an interest in fostering sustainable agricultural practices, as well as creating an enabling environment for innovative agricultural technologies that would help achieve food security goals, increase farm productivity, and improve farmer livelihoods, while addressing climate change concerns.
- Anti-Corruption. The United States and Kenya share a commitment to prevent and combat bribery and other forms of corruption. The two sides will engage in information sharing of best practices to prevent and combat bribery and corruption and will explore negotiating specific commitments.
- Digital Trade. The United States and Kenya share an interest in fostering consumer, business, and worker trust in the digital economy, ensuring access to information, promoting the development and use of resilient and secure digital infrastructure, promoting competition and the participation of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and addressing discriminatory practices. The two countries will discuss measures to support digital inclusion, including accessibility, and online consumer protection. The two countries will also monitor global discussions on emerging issues in digital trade which are of mutual interest.
- Environment and Climate Change Action. The United States and Kenya share common values with respect to environmental protection, a commitment to conservation, pursuing measures to support climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the importance of the sustainable use and management of each country’s natural resources as they strengthen their trade and investment relations. The two sides will engage on strengthening these efforts, including with respect to climate adaptation and mitigation practices. The two sides will also consider opportunities to strengthen their respective commitments in this area, including through cooperation.
- Good Regulatory Practices. The United States and Kenya will explore negotiating high-level commitments on topics such as: ensuring adequate time for public consultations on proposed regulations; posting of proposed regulations for review by interested stakeholders; basing regulatory decisions on best available information, science, and evidence, including undertaking risk analysis and regulatory impact assessment as appropriate. The two sides will also explore negotiating provisions on services domestic regulation.
- Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The United States and Kenya believe that the success of MSMEs are key elements to promote sustained economic growth, including for women-owned enterprises. The two countries will discuss approaches to integrate MSMEs into international trade. The two sides will initiate periodic technical best practices exchanges and roundtables on micro, small and medium enterprises.
- Promoting Workers’ Rights and Protections. The United States and Kenya share a desire to work together to advance and protect labor rights through: enforcement of and compliance with labor laws, promotion of social dialogue, and cooperation in other areas of mutual interest on labor and employment priorities, including with respect to forced labor in global supply chains.
- Supporting Participation of Women, Youth, and Others in Trade. The United States and Kenya are committed to promoting economic opportunities for women and youth and continue to examine how to develop and adopt trade policies that promote and facilitate the participation of women and youth in international trade and to promote good paying, high-quality jobs and sustainable livelihoods. The two sides will work to identify resources to support the economic empowerment and participation of women, youth, persons with disabilities, other vulnerable populations, and the African Diaspora in trade to promote equitable and inclusive development.
- Standards Collaboration. The United States and Kenya will discuss the role of standards, conformity assessment procedures and technical regulations that have a significant impact on trade, including opportunities to reduce impediments to trade due to differences in their respective systems. The two sides intend to engage on and discuss in depth their respective processes for the preparation, adoption, and application of technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures based on mutually agreed best practices.
- Trade Facilitation and Customs Procedures. The United States and Kenya recognize the pandemic’s impact on supply chains and the demonstrated benefits of streamlining border procedures and accelerating WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement implementation for trade in goods during this challenging time. The two sides will discuss opportunities to simplify procedures, especially those that allow new entrants to engage in trade. In this regard, the two sides will consider various customs practices, transparency and cooperation on customs enforcement to inform mutual understanding, including the Agreement between the Government of the United States and the Republic of Kenya Regarding Mutual Assistance between their Customs Administrations, signed at Washington on August 6, 2014, as well as explore other topics of engagement, including trusted trader benefits for demonstrated low-risk importers, particularly those that participate in their respective country’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program.
The U.S. and Kenyan governments will commence working within three months to develop a detailed roadmap for engagement in each of these areas.