WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. and Kenyan officials are meeting this week in Washington for the first negotiating round of the U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP). Public Citizen submitted recommendations for the U.S.-Kenya negotiations to USTR as part of its public comment process last year. Melinda St. Louis, Global Trade Watch director at Public Citizen, issued the following statement:
“The U.S. and Kenyan governments should start with a transparent and participatory negotiation process to ensure that these U.S.-Kenya talks reflect a meaningful departure from the Trump-initiated free trade agreement negotiations and instead advance a new model for economic engagement that centers workers and the environment.
“The traditional corporate-dominated trade advisory system should be replaced with an on-the-record transparent process where negotiating rounds are announced in advance and include opportunities for civil society input and draft text proposals and negotiating texts after each round are made public.
“USTR is wise to exclude from these talks some of the most controversial elements of past FTAs, including pharmaceutical monopoly protections and extreme investor privileges for multinational corporations. However, comments for the record submitted by industry associations and corporate lobbyists reveal their hopes for the U.S.-Kenya STIP, much of it centered on ‘digital trade’ provisions that could undermine efforts in both countries to rein in big tech’s power. A particular target of the corporate lobby is Kenya’s relatively stronger data privacy legislation.”