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The Department is responsible for the management of Kenya’s international trade relations and the promotion and protection of its interests overseas to contribute to the country’s Development plans including vision 2030.

Mission: To advance Kenya’s International trade interests and promote an enabling environment for trade to thrive.

Vision: To be a global leader in promoting International Trade and Private sector development.

  1. To promote bilateral, regional and international economic cooperation
  2. To enhance Kenya’s role and participation in the multilateral rule based- trading system
  3. To promote exports of Kenyan goods and services
  4. To protect Kenyan producers from unfair international trade practices
  5. To promote investments
The functions of the International Trade Department are:-
  • Formulation, implementation, coordination, monitoring and reviewing of international trade policies;
  • Formulation and implementation of Export Strategy;
  • Promotion of Bilateral,Regional and Multilateral trade relations;
  • Coordination  of Kenya’s participation in Multilateral and International trade negotiations;
  • Undertake policy analysis and research on economic and international trade issues;
  • Promote inflow of investments;
  • Promote technology transfer;
  • Coordinate trade and related negotiations; 
  • Coordination of inward and outward  trade and investment  missions;
  • Promotion of Kenya as leading tourism destination;
  • Support national negotiations on external resources mobilization (ODA/Grants);
  • Ensure transparency,  compliance and  enforcement of the trade laws/regulations and agreements;
  • Co-ordinate matters concerning, WTO, UNCTAD, ITC and other ITOs including negotiations  and  implementation of the relevant trade related Decisions emanating from ITOs ;
  • Dissemination of relevant business information to the business community;
  • Consultations on the legal and regulatory framework for the establishment of Strategic Trade Controls (STC) of dual use goods in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004);
  • Coordination of regional trade matters: EAC, COMESA, EAC-EU, AGOA, ACP-EU, IOR-ARC and IGAD among others;
  • Protection of  domestic producers/industry from unfair trade practices;
  • Promotion of public, private  sector and civil society organizations’ participation in international trade matters;
  • Analyses global trends and emerging socio-economic issues;
  • Coordination of Dispute Settlement matters arising from Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral trade ; and
  • Coordination of the operations of trade and investment promotion agencies

To realize the broad objectives, the directorate performs its functions through three divisions;

Regional Trade and Investment

  • Negotiations on Regional Trade Agreements such as EAC-EU, COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite FTA, EAC-US TIPA and the Continental Free Trade Area;
  • Coordination of trade issues on regional economic integration (COMESA, EAC, ACP-EU, IOR-ARC, EAC-US TIPA, NEPAD, IGAD, COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite FTA, South-South Cooperation, Commonwealth Secretariat, TICAD and Continental FTA;
  • Implementation of regional trade policy;
  • Coordination of responses to trade complaints and malpractices in the Regional Economic Communities;
  • Coordination of exchange of trade information;
  • Participation in consultations on the legal and regulatory framework for the establishment of Strategic Trade Controls (STC) of dual use of goods in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1540(2004);
  • Coordination of trade activities in the regional trade arrangements such as Jua Kali Nguvu Kazi ,COMESA Business forum and TICAD African-Asian Business Forum;
  • Coordination of AU Trade related issues;
  • Coordination of Non Tariff Barriers activities;
  • Coordination of dispute settlement matters arising from trade within the regional blocs;
  • Coordination of trade remedies matters in the regional trade arrangement;
  • Analyse the provisions of all regional trade agreements;
  • Coordination of the National Steering Committees and clusters for the regional trade negotiations;
  • Promotion of public, private sectors and civil society organizations’ participation in regional trade agreements;
  • Ratification and implementation of regional trade protocols and agreements;
  • Implementation of the Simplified Trade Regime with regard to cross border trade

  • Multilateral Trade And Other International Trade Organisations

  • Formulation, implementing, monitoring and reviewing international trade policies on matters concerning the World Trade Organization(WTO) and other International Trade Organizations (ITOs);
  • Coordinate matters concerning UNCTAD, ITC and other ITOs including negotiations and implementation of the relevant decisions emanating from ITOs;
  • promotion of multilateral trade relations;
  • coordinating and participating in the multilateral trade negotiations/meetings/conferences at the WTO and other international trade organizations to articulate Kenya’s interests/concerns;
  • identifying, raising and defending Kenya’s interests at the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism;
  • coordination of Kenya’s participation in the WTO trade policy review policy for transparency purposes, therefore creating a conducive environment for increased Foreign Direct Investment;
  • preparation and submission of Kenya’s notification obligations to the WTO;
  • undertaking research and analysis on the impact of multilateral trade agreements/treaties and trade reports particularly from other international trade organizations on the Kenyan economy;
  • preparations of Kenya’s position papers on multilateral trade issues and key trade related issues in international; trade organization;
  • protection of domestic producers/industries from unfair trade completion and imports through application of WTO trade remedy laws;
  • ensuring compatibility between the multilateral trade agreements, trade related decisions from ITOs and other trade agreements at the regional and bilateral levels;
  • monitoring the implementation of multilateral trade obligations/commitments by other WTO members to safeguard Kenya’s interests;
  • strengthening synergies between public and private sectors, civil societies and other organizations regarding trade issues under WTO and other international trade organizations;
  • coordinating activities of the National Committee on World Trade Organization(NCWTO);
  • identifying and seeking technical assistance and capacity building from multilateral  and international trade related institutions;
  • dissemination of relevant business information to the business community;
  • commercial representation in multilateral and Kenya’s diplomatic missions abroad;
  • identifying of employment opportunities of Kenyan professionals in multilateral trade organizations;
  • supervise management of reference centre;
  • Liaising with Kenya’s diplomatic missions on multilateral trade matters.

  • Bilateral Trade and Investment

  • Formulate, monitor and evaluate bilateral trade investment policy matters;
  • Initiate, Draft and negotiate bilateral trade and investment agreements to enhance market access and investment;
  • Initiate and facilitate negotiations of bilateral reciprocal protection and promotion of investments, and avoidance of double taxation agreements to accelerate two-way investment flows;
  • Develop mechanisms to manage trade development concerns including trade enquiries, complaints and unfair trade practices;
  • Develop and coordinate trade and investment promotion strategies, in liaison with government agencies, Kenya diplomatic missions abroad, and the private sector;
  • Coordinate Kenya’s participation in World Expositions, exhibitions, trade fairs and investment forums in liaison with EPC, KenInvest, KEPSA, KNCC&I, KAM and other Sector associations and institutions;
  • Disseminate trade and investment information to the business community on existing and new business opportunities;
  • Review and analyze impact of trade and investment reports form international trade, relevant financial institutions such as World Bank, IMF, IFC, IOR-ARC, GCC, AGOA, TICAD, UNCTAD and WTO on Kenyan economy; prepare country/ bilateral trade briefs and position papers; coordinate market research, surveys to diversify and broaden product and market base;
  • Promote and deepen public-private partnerships collaborations to enhance trade and investment;
  • Promote the flow of Diaspora investment into the country and participation in commercial activities in the country abroad;
  • Liaise with development partner agencies such as TMEA, USAID, GIZ, SIDA, JETRO, KOTRA, to develop and strengthen strategies for trade capacity building and trade facilitation for cross border trade.