Kenya is hoping for a temporary trade partnership before establishing a fully-fledged trade deal with the United States, Citizen Digital news portal reported, citing outgoing Trade and Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina.

“What we are currently discussing is the development of a strategic trade and investment partnership, which is a placeholder for a full free-trade agreement in the future,” she stated.

The US, represented by its Trade Representative Office (USTR), is seeking comments from various American and Kenyan firms until September 16.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai is currently in the county, with negotiations expected to start in October.

Kenya and the US have agreed on areas of collaboration, including agriculture, anti-corruption, digital economy, environment, climate change, transparency, good regulatory practices, MSMEs, etc.

The new trade pact will likely replace Kenya’s current market access to the United States through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, which expires in 2025, the newspaper said.

Last month, the official said that Kenya is looking to become a manufacturing hub for American companies striving to relocate or diversify out of China.

(Editing by Seban Scaria )