The forum will look at education on the detailed regulations and benefits provided by the AGOA renewal Act of 2015 and how to take advantage of the opportunity to build their capacity for exporting products to the USA under the AGOA framework.
The recent AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015, gives Kenya the chance to increase its volume of trade with the US.
MSME’s through this renewal act have the opportunity to capitalize on the trade in several value chains and take advantage on the opportunities that allow trade of more than 6300 products duty-free from Kenya to the USA under the act.
“It’s time for MSME’s to take this great opportunity we have as a nation with the AGOA Trade Act renewal. This forum is a crucial step in the process of expanding our export capacity to the USA,” Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed noted.
The forum plans to shed more light on various sectors including construction, agro-processing exports, home décor, handloom, textiles and apparels and in particular, leather and fisheries are a few ripe sectors they could capitalize on.
In 2013 Kenya exported Sh4.47 billion (USD 447M) worth of textiles and apparel, Sh100 million worth of leather, and Sh8.9 billion worth of vegetable and food products to the US market.
“While this is encouraging, it still leaves room for improvement. Kenya plans on increasing the annual exports margins from about USD 500 million to USD 1 billion by the time the extension is ending. The invaluable information that will be shared at the forum will give Kenyan MSME’s a platform to actively engage this untapped market,” added Mohamed.
The government recently launched the Cold Chain Initiative assessment program in partnership with the U.S government, key in upgrading Kenya’s cold chain infrastructure.
The initiatives is aimed at fast tracking Kenya’s desire to expand its export portfolio in the US while ensuring compliance with U.S standards and regulatory requirements in perishable products exports.
Further, ongoing negotiations between the two governments for US-Kenya direct flights are expected to open up market opportunities for small businesses.
The country is targeting Sh100 billion in export earnings from the AGOA market in the next two years translating into job creation for Kenyans.