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Published on : Tuesday, July 7, 2015
The Kenyan government is banking on the soon to be launched direct flights to the United States as well as a reduction in labour costs to push Kenya’s exports to the US under Washington’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to 100 billion shillings (about 1.0 billion US dollars) in the next two years.
According to Kenya’s Industrialization Cabinet Secretary (Minister), Adan Mohamed, 20 investors lining up to invest in the textile and apparel industry after the US Congress approved a 10-year extension of the AGOA legislation which grants qualified sub-Saharan countries duty-free access to the US market for a range of products.
The US government last Tuesday extended the AGOA, which could only be seen as timely especially when President Barack Obama is set to visit Kenya in about a fortnight’s time. The non-reciprocal trade preference programme established in 2000, was set to end in September this year after the 2012 extension saw some goods from Kenya and other sub-Saharan Africa gaining access to the US market duty-free.
Adan Mohamed said Monday that Kenya was keen to expand exports to the US from 39 billion shillings last year. The Kenya Association of Manufacturers has lauded tax measures the government has introduced to revamp the manufacturing sector and protect local industries.
However, accessing the East African Community (EAC) market has still been an uphill task, something they want addressed.
The Minister said the passing of the Special Economic Zones Bill which is now in its Second Reading stage in Parliament will see local industries gaining access to the regional market to counter Export Processing Zone (EPZ) limitations.
Adan said 20 firms, some from Asia, had expressed interest in investing 8.0 billion shillings in the textile and apparel industry.