The U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) was signed on July 14, 2022. The agreement outlines the enhanced engagement and high level of engagement between the two countries, and focuses on increasing investment and sustainable and inclusive growth which will be of great importance. benefit citizens and businesses of both countries. The agreement also includes the intention to support regional economic integration in East Africa.
A year ago, in July 2021, the United States (United States) Administration announced that it would renew its Prosper Africa initiative, to increase trade and reciprocal investment between the United States and African countries. . At the time, the United States noted that the initiative would focus on improving trade and investment in sectors such as infrastructure, energy and climate solutions, healthcare and technology. . Seventeen US government agencies working under this initiative have been mandated to, among other things, empower African businesses, offer transaction support, and connect US investors with those in Africa.
Support for businesswomen
In the renewed launch of Prosper Africa, there was also an intention to focus on business projects that supported women and small and medium enterprises in Africa. Under President Biden, U.S. engagement with African countries has promised to focus on strengthening these trade relationships in a strategic, cooperative, and reciprocal manner as part of a vision of “shared prosperity” among African nations. Africa and the United States. The United States has also expressed support for the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Africa-wide free trade area, saying it wants to see Africa’s economic power grow. in the world.
Through the US-Kenya STIP, the two countries have identified key areas that they will develop into “an ambitious roadmap for enhanced cooperation”, including agriculture, anti-corruption, digital trade , environment and action against climate change, good regulatory practices, a focus on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the promotion of workers’ rights and protection, support for participation in trade in women, youth and others, increased collaboration on standards and facilitation of trade and customs procedures. The agreement places greater emphasis on sustainability, innovation and good governance, and underlines the requirement that all measures introduced under the agreement must benefit local communities, consumers and companies from both countries.
Encourage agricultural innovation
Regarding the agricultural sector, the agreement notes that an enabling environment for agricultural innovation will be facilitated to increase food security and agricultural productivity. It also describes the role of digital inclusion and accessibility, the need for a resilient and secure digital infrastructure, and online consumer protection in order to foster trust, combat discrimination, and promote development in the digital economy. Emerging issues in digital commerce will also be monitored and taken into account.
Environmental protection, adaptation to climate change, mitigation and conservation are also among the priorities. Both countries stressed the importance of sustainability when using natural resources as they strengthen their mutual commitments and trade relations. A commitment to sound regulatory practices, such as sufficient time for public consultation on proposed regulations, science- and evidence-based decisions, and regular conduct of risk and regulatory impact assessments is also noted. as a priority area.
The agreement highlights the importance of supporting MSMEs, especially those owned by women, youth and people with disabilities, saying this is essential for sustainable economic growth. Exchanges of good practices and round tables are planned in this regard. Issues such as good wages, high quality jobs and the development of trade policies that facilitate the role of women and children in international trade are key areas of this agreement. The rights and protection of workers, in particular compliance with local labor laws and the promotion of dialogue and mutual cooperation in the field of labor and employers, are also considered important areas.
Mutually agreed practices
The two countries have declared through the agreement that they will engage in detail on their respective trade processes and will prepare, adopt and enforce regulations, standards and procedures based on mutually agreed practices. They also recognized the impact of the pandemic on supply chains and the benefits of introducing streamlined and simplified border procedures, particularly in terms of market access for new entrants. The agreement also recognizes in the agreement the importance of accelerating the implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which provides for the expedited movement and clearance of goods, and outlines the trade facilitation and customs compliance cooperation measures for customs authorities.
The STIP agreement also notes that customs practices and enforcement procedures between the two countries will be reviewed in a mutually cooperative and transparent manner. The introduction of trusted trade benefits for low-risk importers, particularly for participants in the Authorized Economic Operator scheme, will also be considered. This will be an important development that other African Customs authorities will surely take note of and try to emulate in the future.
The agreement aligns with and reinforces the ideals set out in the US Prosper Africa initiative and, as such, other reciprocal bilateral and regional trade agreements with African countries are expected to be signed in the near future. These agreements should eventually replace the non-reciprocal African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which allows duty-free and quota-free exports from eligible African countries to the United States, and which is due to expire in 2025. The enhanced engagement and The engagement outlined in the U.S.-Kenya STIP will provide many opportunities for citizens and businesses of both countries to prosper through increased and sustainable trade and investment.
U.S. and Kenya Sign Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership
Source link U.S. and Kenya Sign Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership