The U.S. government on Friday vowed to strengthen trade and investment partnership with Kenya and the East Africa Community (EAC).
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis met Kenya's trade minister Moses Wetang'ula in Nairobi and discussed efforts to boost trade and investment with the East African nation.
As the largest economy in East Africa, Kenya remains a key U.S. trading partner. Total U.S.-Kenya trade in goods reached 846 million dollars in 2011, up 23 percent from 2010.
On June 15, U.S. and EAC trade officials released a joint statement on the U.S.-EAC Trade and Investment Partnership, under which officials are exploring a regional investment treaty, a trade facilitation agreement, continued trade capacity building assistance, and a commercial dialogue.
During the meeting on Friday, both Washington and EAC took key steps to enhances the EAC-U.S. trade and investment relationship.
"This new Partnership is built on the recognition of the important role that trade and investment play in economic and social development including job creation, both in East Africa and the United States," they said after the day-long talks in Nairobi.
The EAC and the U.S. agreed on a framework to move forward on the establishment of a Commercial Dialogue, which will be formally launched in late November.
They also agreed that their respective technical teams will meet at the soonest possible date for further consultations toward negotiation of a proposed investment treaty and a trade facilitation agreement.
According to the U.S. government, exports to U.S. from the EAC have increased by over 280 percent since 2000 when the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) preferential trade agreement was introduced.