Kenya Should Reject U.S. Plastics Push in Trade Talks: Greenpeace 

Kenya Should Reject U.S. Plastics Push in Trade Talks

Kenyan Government is being told to reject proposals being made by the U.S. to expand the plastics industry footprint across Africa.

“Africa is at the forefront of the war on plastics, with 34 out of 54 countries having adopted some regulation to phase out single-use plastic,” said Fredrick Njehu, Greenpeace Africa Senior Political Advisor. 

“The Kenyan government should not backslide on the progress made in its plastic-free ambitions by folding to pressure from fossil fuel giants, because it stands to derail the progress made across the entire continent.” 

According to documents obtained by Greenpeace, the American Chemistry Council has lobbied the US government during the COVID-19 pandemic to use a US-Kenya trade deal to expand the plastics industry’s footprint across Africa. 

The ACC wrote to US Trade Representative officials, stating, “Kenya could serve in the future as a hub for supplying U.S.-made chemicals and plastics to other markets in Africa through this trade agreement.”

The ACC also calls for the lifting of limits placed on the plastics waste trade, which experts believe would circumvent the new Basel Convention rules. 

The efforts by the ACC would undo the progress that Kenya and other African states have made to address plastic pollution. Kenya passed one of the toughest laws on the production, sale, and use of plastic bags in 2017, and recently expanded on it to outlaw plastics in protected areas. 

“This trade deal could turn Kenya into a dumpsite and diminish what the country has achieved. We are petitioning the Ministry of Trade to say no to this deal,” continued Njehu.

However, Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina refuted the claims made by Greenpeace. According to Maina, ”No such proposal has been brought to the negotiating table.”

“We will negotiate with US-guided by Kenyan laws,’’ she said.