A trade deal with the United States could help Kenya and its East African community neighbors by encouraging the development of regional value chains, says a former U.S. trade official at Inside U.S. Trade. “I think it would be really fascinating if we signed up with this free trade agreement between the United States and Kenya to see what will be possible not only for Kenya, but also for other African countries… Observers cited several possible reasons for ending free trade negotiations. First, the United States and SACU did not agree on the extent of the negotiations. In keeping with Congress` mandate to pursue comprehensive free trade agreements, U.S. negotiators have attempted to conduct negotiations such as intellectual property rights, procurement, investment and service rules. However, SACU officials supported the exclusion of these provisions from the negotiations. They asked that market access commitments be made first, and then negotiated the other areas.
Now that Congress has extended agoA`s benefits until 2015 with the AGOA Acceleration Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-274), SACU countries may have less incentive to enter into a free trade agreement with the United States. The United States and SACU also reportedly had differing views on how to include certain industrial sectors in the negotiations. The United States preferred a so-called negative list, in which all industries are negotiable, unless they are expressly excluded. In the meantime, SACU has favoured a positive list that sets out in advance which industries to be included in the negotiations and which may, over time, include other branches in the agreement. Finally, the United States and SACU disagreed on labour rights and environmental legislation. Some observers have speculated that South Africa may not negotiate issues contained in the ongoing WTO negotiations, so as not to influence their positions in the WTO.13 A possible free trade agreement between the United States and SACU is of interest to Congress, as: (1) Congress must consider ratification of an agreement signed by the parties; (2) whereas the provisions of a free trade agreement may harm U.S. activities in industries competing with imports and employment in these sectors; and (3) a free trade agreement can increase AGOA`s effectiveness and strengthen its implementation. On January 9, 2003, a bipartisan group of 41 representatives wrote to Ambassador Zoellick in support of the start of free trade negotiations with SACU.
Despite lobbying by chicken farmers against South Africa`s inclusion in a renewed AGOA agreement, the U.S. Senate approved a bill to extend AGOA by 10 years, including South Africa. In exchange, South Africa agreed to allow 65,000 tonnes of poultry imports from the United States. South Africa`s exclusion from the new AGOA dispensation could have harmed the country`s trade.