Nairobi, capital city of Kenya. (Image: Adobe Stock)

AAFA Encourages Free Trade Talks with Kenya

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) expresses its support for U.S. negotiations with Kenya for a potential free trade agreement in a statement today. Late last week, the Trump Administration announced plans to commence talks with the African nation to counter China’s influence on the continent.

While the U.S. imports apparel from a handful of other regions like Southeast Asia and Latin America, the AAFA notes that Kenya is the 20th-largest supplier of garments to the U.S. by market volume. The most recent report from the Office of the United States Trade Representative shows that two of the country’s top import categories are woven apparel ($240 million), knit apparel ($153 million).

“Creating added certainty for global supply chains is essential for the growth of American business. AAFA welcomes the opening of talks with Kenya for a potential free trade agreement that would further extend this certainty,” says Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the AAFA. Lamar adds that while the agreement has benefits for both nations, that it’s crucial to consider “global value chains work on a regional basis.”

“As such, it is essential that any agreement preserve the state-of-the-art rules enshrined in the African Growth and Opportunity Act, that it encourage regional integration, and provide a path for other African countries to sign agreements with the U.S. AAFA looks forward to working with the administration to provide information on how an agreement could benefit the American apparel and footwear industry, its American workers, and its American consumers,” states Lamar.

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