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US needs to review standards for Africa’s exports

By | July 28th 2009 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Luke Anami

The Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) wants the US to lessen stringent market standard requirements for various products for local traders take advantage of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).

With over 6,500 products, Kenya has only been able to take advantage of 21, so far, due to transactional


"Even though last year Kenya’s exports to AGOA were over Sh28 billion, these could increase if the US reduces its market conditionalities to allow more Kenyan products," Mr Joseph Kosure, the acting

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EPZA chief executive said.

"We are encouraging local investors to diversify into the over 6,000 exportable general system of preference list of products under the AGOA,

and the US should assist us in understanding

its market," Kosure said.

Speaking to the press yesterday at the EPZA headquarters in Athi River, Kosure said the Authority has licensed more than 21 companies this fiscal year and expects to attract a similar number next year.

Competition from Asia

He said the Sub-Saharan African countries face competition from Asia countries further making it difficult to fully market Kenyan products.

"The 1.5 per cent threshold that the AGOA protocol has accorded sub-Saharan exports has not been

attained," he said adding should the exports get to this limit, the threshold will be revised to 3.5 per cent of the US apparel market."

Given that the 1.5 per cent limit given to Agoa African accredited countries has not yet been exploited it is highly unlikely that the limits

given will present quota like challenges,

he explained. The Apparel sector constitutes about 25 per cent of the sector coverage in the EPZ.

Export Processing Zones Authority EPZA Agoa African Growth Opportunity Act
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