The Standard | 8 July 2020
More lobbies oppose Kenya, US trade talks
By FRANKLINE SUNDAY
Kenya’s negotiations for a free trade deal with America has received opposition from organisations drawn from across Africa.
Several trade lobby groups from Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania have written to the government, voicing their opposition to the proposed trade deal.
They argue the deal will stifle the growth of local industries and lead to dumping of cheap US imports in the region.
“The agreement portends the danger of crippling sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing and disintegrating of the Kenyan economy,” states the letter signed by the 27 lobby groups.
They include the National Association of Nigerian Traders, Econews Africa, West African Institute for Trade and Agricultural Development, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Haki Madini Tanzania and the Centre for Trade Policy and Development.
Other signatories include the South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy, Third World Network Africa, Tax Justice Network Africa and ADIR Burundi.
According to Edgar Odari, an official at Econews and one of the organisers of the petition, Kenya could face an influx of products produced cheaply through US government subsidies, pricing local producers out of the market.
“Farmers in the US, for example, receive heavy stimulus from their government compared to small scale farmers in Kenya,” explained Odari.
“The likely outcome is that the agreement will negatively impact food security, as the ability of local farmers to produce will be limited by stiff competition from subsidised products from the US market.”
In February, Kenya and the US announced the two countries are seeking a free trade agreement (FTA) that will be used as a model for similar deals between America and other African countries.