New US-Kenya trade agreement won’t undermine AfCTA: President Kenyatta

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President Uhuru Kenyatta EAC
President Uhuru Kenyatta. PHOTO/COURTESY

President Uhuru Kenyatta has reiterated that a new bilateral trade deal between Kenya and the US won’t undermine the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The Kenyan leader spoke shortly after a meeting with the United States President Donald Trump at the White House during which the two leaders agreed to commence talks leading to a trade pact between Kenya and the US.

President Kenyatta made the assurance when he addressed over 350 business leaders attending a US-Kenya Trade Forum in the US capital.

He said the proposed new trade arrangement with the United States of America would in no way undermine Kenya’s commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

At the White House meeting, Presidents Kenyatta and Trump said a new trade agreement would help increase volumes of trade and investment between Kenya and the US.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer who spoke shortly after the meeting between Presidents Kenyatta and Trump said, America recognizes Kenya as a leader in Africa and an important strategic partner of the US.

He said a new trade agreement presents the two countries a rare opportunity to explore ways of deepening Kenya-US economic and commercial ties.

“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,” Amb Lighthizer said.

He dismissed speculation that Kenya is breaking away from its commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) saying the new arrangement with the US is only aimed at bolstering and deepening trade not only with Kenya but also with other African countries.

“At this juncture I just want to put away a few doubts because there has been a feeling that by Kenya engaging with the US to have a trade arrangement, we are running away from our commitment to the African Continental Free Trade arrangement. And I want to assure you that there can be nothing further from the truth as that is definitely not the case,” President Kenyatta said.

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