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The United States-Kenya “Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership” (STIP) seems to be an alternative to the Trump-initiated U.S.-Kenya Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, which the Biden administration rightly shelved over misalignment with the previous negotiation’s priorities and ambitions.

Like other Biden trade initiatives, the STIP will not be a traditional FTA, but the extent to which it will differ from the status quo remains to be seen. Corporate lobby groups are already calling for Kenya to weaken its strong laws banning certain genetically modified foods and protecting consumers’ privacy online.

Big Tech in particular has gone to great lengths to try to influence the scope of negotiations, the effects of which are not yet known due to an ongoing lack of transparency from both participating governments.

In 2023, Public Citizen worked with human rights defenders, public health advocates, and NGOs on the ground in Kenya amid threats of dangerous and life threatening anti-LGBT+ legislation, supported in part by extremist U.S. lobby groups.

Advocates called for the USTR to use trade negotiations as a tactic to pressure the Kenyan president to veto any legislation that criminalizes queer activity and identity. That legislation appears to have stalled, but civil society is still monitoring the situation and remains ready to take action as needed.