President Donald Trump and the president of Kenya are going to kick off bilateral trade negotiations this week as they meet at the White House. 

V.O.A. News Dot Com says this is an unusual effort for the president, who’s largely focused his trade efforts on major economic powers like China, Japan, and the European Union. 

Kenya ranks 98th among the U.S. trading partners with about $1 billion in two-way trade of goods in 2018. 

However, a trade deal with Kenya could create a template for future negotiations with other African nations. 

It would also help to thwart some of China’s rising influence in the continent. 

China took the top spot from the U.S. as Africa’s number one trading partner several years ago. 

Scott Eisner is president of the U.S.-Africa Business Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

He says the agreement is likely to take several years to complete, especially if Trump follows the trade promotion authority law. 

That requires congressional input for comprehensive trade deals. 

If the two sides eventually agree, it would be the first trade deal between the U.S. and an African nation.  

The U.S. currently has 20 free-trade deals in place with other countries, but none are on the African continent.