Unions raise concern over Kenya-US free trade plans

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 00:00 |
Kenya-US tie. Photo/Courtesy

Steve Umidha @UmidhaSteve

Kenya’s deal with United States for a Free Trade Agreement has received opposition from regional trade unions who have challenged it on the grounds that it violates the East African Community  Treaty and its protocols.

In a statement yesterday, the East African Trade Network (EATN), a membership network comprising civil society organisations, trade unions and farmer groups strongly opposed the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Kenya and US mooted in March – questioning its timing and motive.

“We believe the timing and reasoning for the Kenyan government to take up this critical step into a trade pact with the US are wrong,” reads part of the statement signed by five representatives, Econews Africa, SEATINI Uganda, Haki Madini Tanzania, Kenya Small Scale Farmers Group and Fahamu.

US President Donald Trump notified members of the Congress in a letter dated March 17, 2020 of his intentions to initiate trade talks with Kenya.

“I am pleased to notify Congress that the president intends to initiate negotiations on a trade agreement with the Republic of Kenya,” he said in the letter sent through Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

When the two leaders met in Washington in August 2018, Trump and President Uhuru Kenyatta resolved to improve tourism, trade relations and improve security.

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