Kenya is lobbying against the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) between US and 12 Asian states for fear of losing the current preferential access under African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).
The country joined other trade ministers from African countries at this year’s Agoa forum in Washington to urge the US to reconsider the move as it will make the goods coming from Africa uncompetitive in the market.
Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo told the Business Daily that the preferences that Kenya enjoys will be eroded once the US enters into trade agreements with other states outside Africa.
“Other trade agreements such as the Transpacific Partnership Agreement that the US is planning will affect the goods that are currently enjoying preferential rates to America,” said Dr Kiptoo.
TPP eliminates or reduces all tariffs on goods traded between partner countries.The TPP agreement would abolish many of these tariffs.
Dr Kiptoo notes that it would be difficult for Kenya to compete with countries such as Vietnam and other Asian states, which are part of the TPP agreement and a big producer of the textile goods.
“Vietnam is a big producer of textile and this will make it difficult for us to compete with them once they get duty and quota free access to the US market,” he said.
Manufacturers in those countries produce clothing at lower costs than their Kenyan counterparts.