Kenya - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Agreements

Describes trade agreements this country is a party to. Includes resources where U.S. companies can get information on how to take advantage of these agreements.

Last published date: 2021-09-13

Multilateral Trade System (MTS): The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the primary international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. Kenya has been a member of the WTO since its inception in January 1995. The WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2015. The Conference culminated in the adoption of the “Nairobi Package”, a series of six ministerial decisions on agriculture, cotton, and issues related to least-developed countries (LDCs). The latest EAC Trade Policy Review by WTO was scheduled for March 2019.

African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): Kenya was among nearly 50 African nations signed a deal to create the AfCFTA in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018, marking a historic milestone in the economic integration of the continent. The formation of a free trade area spanning Africa creates a single market of 1.2bn people with a combined gross domestic product of more than $2 trillion (UNCTAD).

U.S. – EAC Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA): The United States signed Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA) with the East African Community (EAC) in 2008, and with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) at https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/africa/regional-economic-communities-rec/common-market-eastern-and-southern-africa-comesa in 2001. Kenya is a member of both regional organizations. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Africa Office is also leading U.S. efforts to forge a new trade and investment partnership with the East African Community.

Regional Markets: Kenya is a member of the East African Community (EAC) with a population of approximately 177 million across the countries of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania. It is also a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) at https://www.comesa.int/ with a population of approximately 540 million. Exports and imports within member countries enjoy preferential tariff rates. EAC Member States have signed a Protocol to establish a common Customs Union.

ACP/Cotonou Partnership Agreement: Exports from Kenya entering the European Union are entitled to duty reductions and freedom from all quota restrictions. Trade preferences include duty-free entry of all industrial products as well as a wide range of agricultural products including beef, fish, dairy products, cereals, fresh and processed fruits, and vegetables. Additional information is available at African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States.

African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA): Kenya qualifies for duty free access until 2025 to the U.S. market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Some of Kenya’s major products that qualify for export under AGOA include textiles, apparels, and handicrafts.

Generalized System of Preferences (GSP): Under the Generalized System of Preferences, a wide range of Kenya’s manufactured products are entitled to preferential duty treatment in the Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, other European countries, and the United States. In addition, no quantitative restrictions are applicable to Kenyan exports on any of the 3,000-plus items currently eligible for GSP treatment. Additional information is available at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Bilateral Trade Agreements: Kenya has signed bilateral trade agreements with several countries:
Argentina, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Comoros, Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Egypt, Hungary, India, Iraq, Lesotho, Liberia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Korea, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

U.S - Kenya Free Trade Agreement: In July 2020, the United States and Kenya entered into FTA negotiations to seek a high standard agreement that will also complement regional integration efforts within the EAC and AfCFTA. Negotiations were paused at the end of 2020, pending a review of the status of negotiations by the incoming USTR leadership. In addition to the launch of trade negotiations, the United States and Kenya agreed on a Strategic Cooperation Framework to provide technical assistance and trade capacity building in Kenya with the aim of maximizing Kenya’s utilization of the AGOA trade benefits for the remaining years of the preference program, which is scheduled to expire in 2025. The Framework will also support the development and competitiveness of key agricultural value chains in Kenya. (www.ustr.gov)

U.S.- Kenya Commercial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU):  In parallel to FTA negotiations, the United States and Kenya intend to intensify efforts to bolster commercial cooperation under the bilateral commercial Memorandum of Understanding signed in June 2018, and to work together to identify and prioritize trade and investment opportunities in strategic sectors including energy, health, digital economy, infrastructure, manufacturing, and agriculture.

Additional agreements are under negotiation with several additional countries: Belarus, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iran, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Mozambique, and South Africa.