President Barack Obama had signed the Bill on June 30 authorising the extension of the non-reciprocal trade preference programme for another 10 years. Kam’s CEO designate Ms Phyllis Wakiaga welcomed the gesture.
“The move is a welcome development to industry in Kenya; extension of AGOA will enable industry maximize on the benefits the legislation has to offer through trade relations with the world’s economy while at the same time creating jobs,” KAM CEO Designate Phyllis Wakiaga said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
AGOA’s renewal is good news to sectors like apparel manufacturers that have been exporting to the US. According to KAM, the textile industry in Kenya estimates an increase in the number of jobs by about 300, 000 following the renewal of this facility.
Kenya needs to boost exports to rein in a gaping current account deficit and ease pressure on its currency, which has been hit by global dollar strength and slide in foreign exchange earnings from tourism after a spate of terror attacks.
AGOA’s ambassador Jaswinder Bedi asked stakeholders in the textile and apparel industry to work towards delivering 100,000 jobs and $1bn (98 billion Kenyan shilling) revenue to the Kenyan economy in the next three years.
He said that most of the companies that export apparel already had orders, which were intended to run beyond the deadline that had been set for expiry of the previous agreement.
“Participating countries must now address the challenges that have prevented them from seizing the opportunity to realise better business with the US in the last 15 years. Kenya, in particular, must work towards expanding the range of products that are currently being exported to the US market under Agoa. We must go beyond the apparel export and strategise how to take advantage of the approximately 6,400 products that are currently eligible for Agoa,” said Wakiaga. (SH)
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