Despite this relationship, Kenyan trade with the United States is relatively small and barely sufficient to rank among the top 100 U.S. trading partners. For example, total annual merchandise trade between the United States and Kenya has been estimated at about $1.1 billion. Kenya was the 98th largest trading partner of the United States. At the time, the United States was Kenya`s third largest export market. This trade disparity has led many to argue that the proposed free trade agreement is a largely symbolic move by the United States to neutralize China`s influence in Africa. Kenya`s apparently unilateral decision to join the ABC is largely drawn from its past experience in negotiating joint agreements, particularly the EPA between the ABC and the EU. Although negotiations on EU EPAs and EPAs are complete, the agreement is incomplete, given that only Kenya and Rwanda signed it in 2016. Although the EU granted temporary duty-free access to Kenya, the lack of a comprehensive regional agreement threatened Kenya`s trade position. As has already been said, Kenya is the only EAC country that is not classified as LDC and the failure of the agreement would have been costly for Kenya compared to other EAC countries.
As LDCs, other EAC members reportedly continued to access the European single market under the EU GSP or the “Everything but Arms” (EBA) initiative, while Kenya reportedly lost preferential treatment. The goal is therefore to reach an agreement based on AGOA`s objectives and create a basis for the development of trade and investment between the United States and Africa. But Kenya`s unilateral decision to pursue a free trade agreement with the United States has drawn criticism from members of the East African Community (EAC) and the African Free Trade Association (AfCFTA). Both ABCEs and AfCFTA agreements discourage members from entering into bilateral trade agreements with third parties. Although Kenya has downplayed these concerns, the outcome of the negotiations will nevertheless have a significant impact on intra-African trade and Kenya`s influence across the continent. But he hinted that he was not yet ready for a free trade agreement, officials said. “All loan agreements between China and Kenya are in line with international practice. None of the Kenyan state assets were mortgaged for the SGR loan and no domestic assets would be confiscated or controlled by China, even in the event of default,” Wu said. Bilateral economic and trade agreements between China and Kenya include “economic and technological cooperation agreements between the People`s Republic of China and the Republic of Kenya,” trade agreements between the People`s Republic of China and the Republic of Kenya (1978), etc.