WASHINGTON – Today, ITI issued the following statement reacting to the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) notice of intent to negotiate a Trade Agreement with Kenya:
“We welcome the Trump Administration’s decision to initiate negotiations toward a high-standard, comprehensive free trade agreement with Kenya,” said Jason Oxman, ITI’s President and CEO. “As a rapidly developing leader in the information and communications technology sector and home to a wide range of innovative firms, Kenya plays an important role in the growth of the 21st century economy. This agreement would enable both countries to deepen their economic relationship and provide a meaningful opportunity to clearly demonstrate the benefits of digital trade for development, innovation, and global competitiveness. ITI looks forward to partnering with the United States and Kenya as they work to develop a model for a modern agreement that serves the interests of both the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa.”
The U.S.-Kenya Agreement would be the first U.S. free trade agreement with a Sub-Saharan African country, and only its second on the continent (the U.S.-Morocco free trade agreement has been in force since 2006). Kenya’s information and communications technology sector has been growing at an average rate of 10.8 percent since 2016 and is poised to be the hub for digital technology on the continent.
In officially notifying Congress of its intent to negotiate an agreement, USTR is following the procedures set out in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, or TPA. Pursuant to TPA, USTR must publish objectives of the negotiations with Kenya at least 30 days before formal negotiations begin, and negotiations may begin no sooner than 90 days from today’s Congressional notification.