The United States and Kenya 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.
These talks come amid a rising tide of anti-LGBTQI+ hate in Kenya, sponsored in part by extremist US lobby groups. The so-called Family Protection Bill — a copycat of the draconian new anti-LGBTQI+ law that passed in Uganda — would impose harsh criminal penalties on anyone identifying as LGBTQI+ or promoting LGBTQI+ healthcare and human rights. The U.S. administration continuing negotiations amid this hate sends a message to the world that criminalizing the queer community is not a deal-breaker to doing business with the U.S. The United States must pause trade negotiations until Kenyan President Ruto commits to veto any anti-LGBTQI+ legislation and ensure the human rights of the LGBTQI+ community is protected.