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Econews Africa wants Kenya, USA trade deal halted for lack of consultations

Econews Africa wants Kenya, USA trade deal halted for lack of consultations

Capital Business | 13th April 2023

By Kevin Rotich

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 12 – The not-for-profit organization Econews Africa (ENA) now wants trade negotiation between the Kenyan and American governments stopped to allow stakeholders to engage.

ENA says that talks under the Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) cannot go on until pertinent issues are addressed.

STIP will act as the precursor to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), whose expiration date is set for 2025.

AGOA came into effect in 2000, allowing African goods to access the U.S. duty-free.

While American stakeholders have submitted their views to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for consideration, the country has yet to conduct one.

“We, Econews Africa and the Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum, do at this moment voice our strong opposition to the ongoing trade negotiations between Kenya and the United States for a Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) whose next round of the talks is set to happen in Nairobi from Monday 17th April 2023,” the firm’s Executive Director Edgar Odari said.

“We are particularly concerned that this is taking place while there have yet to be any stakeholder consultations to determine what should go into the final agreement and what should be kept out of the negotiations,” Odari added.

“We note with concern that American stakeholders have given extensive comments to the USTR, while the Kenyan negotiators have yet to make any attempt to consult widely before embarking on the negotiations.”

ENA urges the government to carefully consider the impact of the deal on the country’s agricultural sub-sector.

“There needs to be a comprehensive assessment of the effect of agricultural trade liberalization,” Odari stated.

“The Kenyan Government should seriously consider the likely impact of U.S. agricultural subsidies on the sector,” he explained.

“We urge the government to rethink the negotiation objectives and remove agriculture from the talks altogether.”

ENA is a pan-African research and advocacy organization based in Kenya.

It bridges the local, national, regional, and global information gaps on development issues, particularly trade, investments, the extractives industry, finance, and development.

 source: Capital Business