The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), as the representatives of the apparel and footwear industry in both Kenya and the United States, to collaborate on policy areas that are of mutual interest to its membership through joint advocacy and information sharing on industry best practices.
The two nations have recently expressed interest in expanding trade and investment between the countries. Negotiations to form a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the U.S. and Kenya were launched in July 2020, while the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) currently promotes trade between the U.S. and Kenya. With AGOA scheduled to expire in 2025, AAFA and KAM have agreed to collaborate on the program’s renewal while also supporting FTA negotiations.
“The United States of America market is the most important export market for Kenyan apparel. This partnership will scale up business-to-business linkages between KAM and AAFA members, and we hope that this will translate to increased trade and investments across our borders. Kenya’s apparels manufacturing capacity has grown over the past 21 years of AGOA with the country becoming the largest apparels exporter under the program. With a focus on renewed trade arrangements with the U.S. and maximization of AGOA, this partnership with AAFA will be critical in ensuring that the private sector provides fact-based policy advocacy,” stated Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga, KAM Chief Executive.
AAFA represents more than 1,000 world-famous name brands in the apparel and footwear space. Meanwhile, KAM represents more than 1,300 members across 14 industries, including Kenya’s Textiles & Apparel and Leather sector, and the Footwear & Leather Goods sector.
“Kenya is a key partner for the apparel and footwear industry and we are excited to formalize an agreement of cooperation with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers. This is a particularly important time for U.S.-Kenya relations, as we look to renew AGOA and agree to a free trade agreement that opens new markets and business opportunities. AAFA is eager to work more closely with KAM to ensure that both governments are aware of how the apparel and footwear supply chain works, and how future agreements can be structured to provide an economic boost to both industries,” Steve Lamar, president, and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association said on his part.