This letter is written to the AfCFTA Secretariat to reach out to the Kenyan Government to do the right thing and stop the negotiations with the United States of a Free Trade Agreement or at the very least postpone negotiations until proper stakeholder consultations have been done.
7th July 2020
To: The Head, AfCFTA Secretariat
Cc: The African Union
Cc: The East African Community Secretariat
Cc: The Presidency, Republic of Kenya
Cc: The Attorney General, Republic of Kenya
Cc: The Chairperson, The National Assembly Committee on Finance, Trade and Investment
Cc: The Chairperson, The National Assembly Committee on Regional Integration
Cc: The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development
Cc: The Office of the Registrar of Treaties, Republic of Kenya
Cc: The Law Society of Kenya
RE: OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSED US-KENYA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
We are writing to you today to strongly urge you to consider intervening to convince Kenya to abandon or, at the very least, postpone the United States-Kenya Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations to a later date.
Domestic Kenyan Market
Kenya must be cognizant of its development strategy and how it fits into the overall picture. Reciprocal trade between Kenya and the US essentially puts two extremely unequal countries on a path of enhanced harmonization of rules and policies. This is a complete mismatch. For example, California alone is the fifth largest economy in the world. Kenya on the other hand is currently ranked 98th on the US trading partners list with exports of $365 million and imports worth $644 million.
The agreement portends the danger of crippling sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing and disintegrating of the Kenyan economy. In agriculture, for example, the US seeks to secure comprehensive market access for US agricultural goods, promote greater regulatory compatibility with US rules and establish specific commitments for trade in products developed through agricultural biotechnology. The likely outcome is that the agreement will likely negatively impact food security, as the ability of local farmers to produce will be limited by stiff competition from subsidized products from the US market. Further, it may limit the ability of the Kenyan government to regulate risky pesticides or agricultural technologies or even shelter local production from volatile prices or supplies.