The US-Kenya trade deal has received opposition from Kenyan lawyers, who have challenged it in court on the grounds that it violates the East African Community (EAC) Treaty and its protocols.
Tabling the petition at the East African Court of Justice, Lawyers Christopher Ayieko and Emily Osiemo now want the agreement declared illegal, null, and void.
Additionally, the lawyers also want Kenya barred from importing wheat from various regions in the US, such as Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. They argue that the government did not provide information on the proposed agreement.
Currently, Kenya imports wheat from the US to meet its annual consumption of 900,000 tonnes, against an annual local production of 350,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, US President, Donald Trump, already notified Congress of the plan to negotiate a trade agreement with Kenya. Therefore, a notice will be published in the Federal Register in the next 30 days, encouraging public participation on the same.
Additionally, it will also publish the objectives of the negotiations a month before formal trade negotiations begin.
Statistics show that the US is an important source of Kenya’s foreign direct investments (FDI), with the country holding an FDI stock of over $405 million in 2018. In 2019, Kenya imported aircraft worth KSh6.07 billion from the United States, plastics worth KSh5.97 billion, machinery worth KSh4.22 billion, and wheat worth KSh2.78 billion.
African heads of state agreed in 2018 that no country should negotiate a bilateral free-trade agreement with a third party once the continental bloc comes into force. Furthermore, Kenya being a member of the East African Community, shares common custom territory with other members, thus making the unilateral negotiations almost impossible.