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Lesotho Prime Minister resigns, Kenyan President was the last head of state to see him before he was forced out of office

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The party is over and the curtain has come down for the Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Thabane.

On Thursday, in a televised speech in the capital, Maseru, Mr. Thabane announced his resignation.

“Today I wish to reiterate my announcement to retire from office. I might still have the necessary zeal and fervor to continue serving my people and country, but the truth is that at my age I have lost most of my energy. I’m not as energetic as I use to be a few years ago,” he said

AFP

The 80-year old said the decision has been the hardest he’s made in his career. His resignation follows immense pressure from the ruling party and the opposition to resign after he was linked with the murder of his former and late wife Lilopelo Thabane.

“We… have decided that the PM should leave office by Thursday,” Montoeli Masoetsa, the party spokesman said.

“We cannot afford to have him any longer in office and we think it’s only for the best,” he told AFP.

Lilopelo was shot dead in June 2017 near her home in the capital Maseru two days before he took office.

Lesotho former first lady, the late wife Lilopelo. (Daily mail.)

On Thursday, the deputy police commissioner, Paseka Mokete, said the 80-year old leader will be charged with the murder of his late wife.

“The prime minister is going to be charged with the murder. The police are preparing directives and he will probably be charged tomorrow,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Paseka Mokete told Reuters by telephone

Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane with his wife, Maesaiah Thabane, at the funeral of his first wife, Lipolelo Thabane. (timeslive)

Already police are closing in on his current wife, Maesaiah Thabane, who is accused of ordering the hit. She was detained this month and charged with ordering the murder, but is currently out on bail.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was the last head of state to see him before he was forced out of office.

Last year in the month of December, Mr. Thabane became the first Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho to undertake a state visit to Kenya after he touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for a three day state visit.

Lesotho’s Prime Minister Hon. Dr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House.

He was formally received by his host President Kenyatta at a colourful ceremony that included a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the Kenya Army and a 19-gun salute.

The elaborate state reception ceremonies were followed by a private meeting between the two leaders before they led their respective delegations in bilateral talks that culminated in the signing of three pacts namely; a Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC), a Memorandum of Understanding for Bilateral consultations as well as a Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Sports.

Mr. Kenyatta was banking on Thabane’s support and through him that of other members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in campaigning for Kenya’s candidature for the UNSC non-permanent seat in the election slated for June next year.

Lesotho’s Prime Minister Hon. Dr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House.

By Pulse Live

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Africa

Laid bare: Here is what the US seeks in her trade negotiations with Kenya

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The United States and Kenya began trade negotiations Wednesday, seeking to enter a free trade agreement. US Trade Representative Robert Lightheizer and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Trade Betty Maina kicked off the talks albeit virtually via video conference.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lauded the progress, saying a deal could “strengthen and deepen our relationships with economies across the continent” of Africa.

Kenya is included in the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which is set to expire in 2025. The U.S. Chamber says a Kenya free trade agreement will provide American businesses the certainty they need to continue investing in the growing market.

Agriculture goals for the U.S. include securing full market access for U.S. agricultural goods in Kenya by reducing or eliminating tariffs. Further, the U.S. seeks to eliminate practices that unfairly decrease U.S. market access opportunities or distort agricultural markets for the United States.

In 2018, U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Kenya totaled $37 million. Leading domestic export categories were $10 million of coarse grains, $6 million of wheat and $5 million of pulse crops.

The top U.S. goods exports to Kenya in 2019 were aircraft, plastics, machinery, and cereals, mainly wheat.

Here is exactly what the US seeks:

Introduction
On March 17, 2020, the Trump Administration notified Congress that the President intends to
negotiate a trade agreement with the Republic of Kenya, in accordance with section 105(a)(1)(A) of
the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (the Trade Priorities
and Accountability Act).

This notification was made following a February 6, 2020, meeting at the
White House between President Trump and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta where the two
presidents agreed to pursue negotiations on a trade agreement between the United States and Kenya.
In pursuing negotiations on a trade agreement with Kenya, we are responding to Congress’ support,
as expressed in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), to negotiate reciprocal and
mutually beneficial trade agreements that serve the interests of both the United States and the
countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

Our vision is to conclude an agreement with Kenya that can serve
as a model for additional agreements in Africa, leading to a network of agreements that contribute to
Africa’s regional integration objectives. In addition, our goal is to conclude an agreement that builds
on the objectives of AGOA and will serve as an enduring foundation to expand U.S.-Africa trade
and investment across the continent.

We seek to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and grow the U.S. economy by
improving U.S. opportunities for trade and investment with Kenya. The current health crisis and
economic challenges posed by COVID-19 underscore our desire to strengthen our economic
relationship with Kenya and lay the foundations for stronger, more resilient economies to address the
current and future health crises. Our specific objectives for this negotiation will comply with the
specific objectives set forth by Congress in section 102 of the Trade Priorities and Accountability
Act.

In doing so, we aim to address both tariff and non-tariff barriers and to achieve fairer, more
balanced trade. We are committed to working closely with Congress, including on matters of scope,
and to following the requirements of the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act and the guidelines
issued pursuant to section 104(a)(3) of the Act. Further, we recognize that effective implementation
and enforcement of the commitments made by our trading partners under our trade agreements are
vital to the success of those agreements, and we will seek provisions that ensure effective
implementation and enforcement.

As a part of the process of formulating these objectives, on March 23, 2020, we solicited public
comments by Federal Register notice regarding objectives and positions for a U.S.-Kenya trade
agreement and received over 5,000 submissions.

We are committed to concluding these negotiations with timely and substantive results for U.S.
consumers, businesses, farmers, ranchers, and workers, consistent with U.S. priorities and
negotiating objectives established by Congress in statute. As part of this process, the Administration
will update these negotiating objectives in the future, consistent with section 105(a)(1)(D) of the
Trade Priorities and Accountability Act.

We look forward to continuing to work with Congress as
negotiations with Kenya begin, and we are committed to working with Congress closely and
transparently throughout the process.

Table of Contents
Overall: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1
Trade in Goods: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS): …………………………………………………………………………… 2
Customs and Trade Facilitation:…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
Rules of Origin: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT):………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
Good Regulatory Practices: …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5
Transparency, Publication, and Administrative Measures: ………………………………………………………… 5
Trade in Services, Including Telecommunications and Financial Services: …………………………………. 5
Digital Trade in Goods and Services and Cross-Border Data Flows: ………………………………………….. 6
Investment: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7
Intellectual Property: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7
Procedural Fairness for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices:…………………………………………………. 8
State-Owned and Controlled Enterprises (SOEs):…………………………………………………………………….. 8
Subsidies:……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 9
Competition Policy:……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 9
Labor:……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
Environment: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11
Anti-corruption: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 12
Trade Remedies: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 12
Government Procurement:…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 13
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME): ……………………………………………………………………….. 14
Dispute Settlement:…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 14
General Provisions:…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15
Currency: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 16
1
Summary of Specific Negotiating Objectives for the Initiation of
United States-Kenya Negotiations
Overall:
– Seek a mutually beneficial trade agreement that can serve as a model for additional
agreements across Africa.
– Support regional integration, where appropriate.
– Build on the objectives of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, promote good
governance and the rule of law.
Trade in Goods:
– Ensure fair, balanced, and reciprocal trade with Kenya.
– Increase transparency in import and export licensing procedures.
– Discipline import and export monopolies to prevent trade distortions.
Industrial Goods
– Secure comprehensive duty-free market access for U.S. industrial goods and strengthen
disciplines to address non-tariff barriers that constrain U.S. exports.
– Expand market access for remanufactured goods exports by ensuring that they are not
classified as used goods that are restricted or banned.
– Secure duty-free access for U.S. textile and apparel products and seek to improve
competitive opportunities for exports of U.S. textile and apparel products while taking into
account U.S. import sensitivities.
– Secure commitments with respect to greater regulatory compatibility to facilitate U.S.
exports in key goods sectors and reduce burdens associated with unnecessary differences in
regulation, including through regulatory cooperation where appropriate.
Agricultural Goods
– Secure comprehensive market access for U.S. agricultural goods in Kenya by reducing or
eliminating tariffs.
– Provide reasonable adjustment periods for U.S. import-sensitive agricultural products,
engaging in close consultation with Congress on such products before initiating tariff
reduction negotiations.
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– Eliminate practices that unfairly decrease U.S. market access opportunities or distort
agricultural markets to the detriment of the United States, including:
• Non-tariff barriers that discriminate against U.S. agricultural goods; and
• Restrictive rules in the administration of tariff rate quotas.
– Promote greater regulatory compatibility to reduce burdens associated with unnecessary
differences in regulations and standards, including through regulatory cooperation where
appropriate.
– Establish specific commitments for trade in products developed through agricultural
biotechnologies, including on transparency, cooperation, and managing low level presence
issues, and a mechanism for exchange of information and enhanced cooperation on
agricultural biotechnologies.
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS):
– Provide for enforceable and robust SPS obligations that build upon World Trade
Organization (WTO) rights and obligations, including with respect to science-based
measures, good regulatory practices, import checks, equivalence, regionalization,
certification, and risk analysis, making clear that each Party can set for itself the level of
protection it believes to be appropriate to protect food safety and plant and animal health in a
manner consistent with its international obligations.
– Establish a mechanism to remove expeditiously unwarranted barriers that block the export of
U.S. food and agricultural products in order to obtain more open, equitable, and reciprocal
market access.
– Establish rules that further encourage the adoption of international standards and strengthen
implementation of the obligation to base SPS measures on science if the measure is more
restrictive than the applicable international standard.
– Establish new and enforceable rules to eliminate unjustified trade restrictions or unjustified
commercial requirements (including unjustified labeling) that affect new technologies.
– Establish new and enforceable rules to ensure that science-based SPS measures are
developed and implemented in a transparent, predictable, and non-discriminatory manner.
– Include strong provisions on transparency and public consultation that require Kenya to
publish drafts of regulations, allow stakeholders in other countries to provide comments on
those drafts, and require authorities to address significant issues raised by stakeholders and
explain how the final measure achieves the stated objectives.
– Obtain commitment that Kenya will not foreclose export opportunities to the United States
with respect to third-country export markets, including by requiring third countries to align
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with non-science based restrictions and requirements or to adopt SPS measures that are not
based on ascertainable risk.
– Improve communication, consultation, and cooperation between governments to share
information and work together on SPS issues in a transparent manner, including on new
technologies.
– Establish an active SPS Chapter Committee that will discuss, at least on annual basis,
bilateral and third party SPS specific trade concerns, regulatory cooperation, and
implementation of good regulatory practices.
Customs and Trade Facilitation:
– Ensure high standards for implementation of WTO agreements involving trade facilitation
and customs valuation.
– Increase transparency by ensuring that all customs laws, regulations, and procedures are
published on the Internet as well as designating points of contact for questions from traders.
– Ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, shipments are released immediately after
determining compliance with applicable laws and regulations and provide for new disciplines
on timing of release, automation, and use of guarantees.
– Provide for streamlined and expedited customs treatment for express delivery shipments,
including for shipments above any de minimis threshold. Provide for simplified customs
procedures for low value goods and a more reciprocal de minimis shipment value.
– Ensure that procedures facilitate e-commerce shipments and a simplified process for the
return of domestic origin goods to meet the challenges disproportionately impacting small
business e-commerce.
– Provide for the use of electronic customs forms, and electronic signatures and authentications
to promote and facilitate small business trade.
– Ensure that Kenya administers customs penalties in an impartial and transparent manner and
avoids conflicts of interest in the administration of penalties.
– Provide for automation of import, export, and transit processes, including through supply
chain integration; reduced import, export, and transit forms, documents, and formalities;
enhanced harmonization of customs data requirements; and advance rulings regarding the
treatment that will be provided to a good at the time of importation.
– Provide for both administrative and judicial appeal of customs decisions, and provide
procedures for ensuring uniformity in customs treatment of goods.
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– Provide for online publication of and electronic payment of duties, taxes, fees, and charges
imposed on or in connection with importation or exportation.
– Provide for the use of risk management systems for customs control and post-clearance audit
procedures to ensure compliance with customs and related laws.
– Provide for disciplines on the use of customs brokers.
– Provide for disciplines on the use of reusable containers.
– Establish mutually beneficial cooperation mechanisms for the prevention of duty evasion and
for combating customs offenses.
– Establish a committee for the Parties to share information and cooperate on trade priorities
with a view to resolving inconsistent treatment of commercial goods.
Rules of Origin:
– Develop rules of origin that ensure that the benefits of the Agreement go to products
genuinely made in the United States and Kenya.
– Ensure that the rules of origin incentivize production in the territory of the Parties.
– Establish origin procedures that streamline the certification and verification of rules of origin
and that promote strong enforcement, including with respect to textiles.
– Promote origin procedures that ensure that goods that meet the rules of origin receive the
Agreement’s benefits.
Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT):
– Require application of decisions and recommendations adopted by the WTO TBT Committee
that apply to standards, conformity assessment, transparency, and other areas.
– Include strong provisions on transparency and public consultation that require the publication
of drafts of standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures, allow
stakeholders in other countries to provide comments on those drafts, and require authorities
to address significant issues raised by stakeholders and explain how the final measure
achieves the stated objectives.
– Ensure national treatment of conformity assessment bodies without conditions or limitations
and encourage the use of international conformity assessment systems, including mutual
recognition arrangements.
– Obtain commitments that Kenya will not foreclose export opportunities to the United States
with respect to third-country export markets, including by requiring third countries to
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withdraw or limit the use of any relevant standard, guide, or recommendation developed in
accordance with the TBT Committee Decision.
– Establish an active TBT Chapter Committee that will discuss bilateral and third-party
specific trade concerns, coordination of regional and multilateral activities, regulatory
cooperation, and implementing good regulatory practices.
Good Regulatory Practices:
– Obtain commitments that can facilitate market access and promote greater compatibility
between U.S. and Kenya regulations, including by:
• Ensuring transparency and accountability in the development, implementation, and
review of regulations, including by publication of proposed regulations;
• Providing meaningful opportunities for public comment in the development of
regulations;
• Promoting the use of impact assessments and other methods of ensuring regulations are
evidence-based and current, as well as avoiding unnecessary redundancies; and
• Applying other good regulatory practices such as internal coordination mechanisms, and
securing commitments to ensure transparency as well as meaningful opportunities to
provide comments to expert regulatory advisory committees.
Transparency, Publication, and Administrative Measures:
– Secure commitments to:
• Promptly publish laws, regulations, administrative rulings of general application, and
other procedures that affect trade and investment;
• Provide meaningful opportunities for public comment on measures before they are
adopted and finalized; and
• Establish and maintain mechanisms for review and, if warranted, correction of final
administrative actions.
Trade in Services, Including Telecommunications and Financial Services:
Trade in Services
– Secure commitments from Kenya to provide fair and open conditions for services trade,
including through:
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• Rules that apply to all services sectors, including rules that prohibit:
o Discrimination against foreign services suppliers;
o Restrictions on the number of services suppliers in the market; and
o Requirements that cross-border services suppliers establish a local presence.
• Specialized sectoral disciplines, including rules to help level the playing field for U.S.
delivery services suppliers in Kenya; and
• Where any exceptions from core disciplines are needed, the negotiation, on a negative list
basis, of the narrowest possible exceptions with the least possible impact on U.S. firms.
– Retain flexibility for U.S. non-conforming measures, including U.S. non-conforming
measures for maritime services.
– Improve the transparency and predictability of regulatory procedures in Kenya.
Telecommunications
– Promote competitive supply of telecommunications services by facilitating market entry.
– Secure commitments to provide reasonable network access for telecommunications suppliers.
– Establish provisions protecting telecommunications services suppliers’ choice of technology.
Financial Services
– Expand competitive market opportunities for U.S. financial service suppliers to obtain fairer
and more open conditions of financial services trade.
– Improve transparency and predictability in Kenya’s financial services regulatory procedures,
and ensure that Kenya’s financial regulatory measures are administered in an equitable
manner.
– Include state-of-the-art commitments to ensure that Kenya refrains from imposing measures
in the financial services sector that restrict cross-border data flows or that require the use or
installation of local computing facilities.
Digital Trade in Goods and Services and Cross-Border Data Flows:
– Secure commitments not to impose customs duties on digital products (e.g., software, music,
video, e-books).
7
– Ensure non-discriminatory treatment of digital products transmitted electronically and
guarantee that these products will not face government-sanctioned discrimination based on
the nationality or territory in which the product is produced.
– Establish state-of-the-art rules to ensure that Kenya does not impose measures that restrict
cross-border data flows and does not require the use or installation of local computing
facilities.
– Promote the interoperability of data protection regimes and mechanisms to facilitate crossborder information transfers.
– Establish rules to prevent governments from mandating the disclosure of computer source
code or algorithms.
– Establish rules that limit non-IPR civil liability of online platforms for third-party content,
subject to the Parties’ rights to adopt non-discriminatory measures for legitimate public
policy objectives or that are necessary to protect public morals.
Investment:
– Secure for U.S. investors in Kenya important rights consistent with U.S. legal principles and
practice, while ensuring that Kenyan investors in the United States are not accorded greater
substantive rights than domestic investors.
– Establish rules that reduce or eliminate barriers to U.S. investment in all sectors in Kenya.
Intellectual Property:
– Promote adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights, including through
the following:
• Obtain commitments to ratify or accede to international treaties reflecting best practices
in intellectual property protection and enforcement;
• Provide a framework for effective cooperation between Parties on matters related to the
adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights;
• Promote transparency and efficiency in the procedures and systems that establish
protection of intellectual property rights, including making more relevant information
available online;
• Seek provisions governing intellectual property rights that reflect a standard of protection
similar to that found in U.S. law, including, but not limited to, protections related to
trademarks, patents, copyright and related rights (including, as appropriate, exceptions
and limitations), undisclosed test or other data, and trade secrets;
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• Provide strong protection and enforcement for new and emerging technologies and new
methods of transmitting and distributing products embodying intellectual property,
including in a manner that facilitates legitimate digital trade, including, but not limited to,
technological protection measures;
• Ensure standards of protection and enforcement that keep pace with technological
developments, and in particular ensure that rights holders have the legal and
technological means to control the use of their works through the Internet and other
global communication media, and to prevent the unauthorized use of their works;
• Prevent or eliminate government involvement in the violation of intellectual property
rights, including cyber theft and piracy;
• Secure fair, equitable, and nondiscriminatory market access opportunities for U.S.
persons that rely upon intellectual property protection;
• Prevent or eliminate discrimination with respect to matters affecting the availability,
acquisition, scope, maintenance, use, and enforcement of intellectual property rights;
• Respect the Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, adopted by the
WTO at the Fourth Ministerial Conference at Doha, Qatar, on November 14, 2001, and
ensure that the Agreement fosters innovation and promotes access to medicines,
reflecting a standard similar to that found in U.S. law;
• Prevent the undermining of market access for U.S. products through the improper use of
Kenya’s system for protecting or recognizing geographical indications, including any
failure to ensure transparency and procedural fairness, or adequately protect generic
terms for common use; and
• Provide the means for adequate and effective enforcement of intellectual property rights,
including by requiring accessible, expeditious, and effective civil, administrative, and
criminal enforcement mechanisms. Such mechanisms include, but are not limited to,
strong protections against counterfeit and pirated goods.
Procedural Fairness for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices:
– Seek standards to ensure that government regulatory reimbursement regimes are transparent,
provide procedural fairness, are nondiscriminatory, and provide full market access for U.S.
products.
State-Owned and Controlled Enterprises (SOEs):
– Build on the definition of an SOE in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
– Retain the ability to support SOEs engaged in providing domestic public services.
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– Establish rules requiring that SOEs accord non-discriminatory treatment with respect to the
purchase and sale of goods and services.
– Establish rules requiring that SOEs act in accordance with commercial considerations with
respect to the purchase and sale of goods and services.
– Establish strong subsidy disciplines applicable to SOEs, beyond the disciplines set out in the
WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement).
– Require that SOEs not cause harm to the United States through provision of subsidies.
– Require that SOEs not cause harm to the domestic industry of the United States via
subsidized SOE investment.
– Ensure impartial regulation of SOEs, designated monopolies, and private companies.
– Ensure that Parties provide jurisdiction to courts over the commercial activities of foreign
SOEs.
– Allow Parties to request information related to the level of government ownership and
control of a given enterprise and the extent of government support.
– Create a mechanism for Parties to regularly discuss and exchange information related to third
party SOEs operating in the markets of the Parties, including, inter alia, the extent to which
third party SOEs accord non-discriminatory treatment and act in accordance with commercial
considerations with respect to the purchase and sale of goods and services.
Subsidies:
– Seek to build on the existing transparency principles in the SCM Agreement.
– Seek to establish a consultative mechanism to discuss subsidy issues that arise in the bilateral
relationship.
– Seek to facilitate the exchange of information and to expand cooperation with respect to
subsidy issues outside of the bilateral relationship.
– Seek to develop disciplines that address the creation or maintenance of capacity inconsistent
with market principles.
Competition Policy:
– Maintain and implement rules that prohibit anticompetitive business conduct, protect
consumers from fraudulent and deceptive commercial acts and practices, and ensure that
those rules are transparent.
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– Establish or affirm basic rules for procedural fairness on competition law enforcement,
including by: ensuring non-discriminatory treatment for persons of the other Party; allowing
representation by counsel; recognizing privileged communications; providing for the
protection of confidential and privileged information and communications; ensuring access to
information necessary to prepare an adequate defense; providing an opportunity to present
rebuttal evidence and cross- examine testifying witnesses; and ensuring the resolution of
competition law cases before an impartial administrative or judicial authority.
– Ensure that, in calculating a fine for a violation of a national competition law, the Party
considers revenue or profit relating to the Party’s territory or commerce.
– Limit remedies relating to conduct outside the Party’s territory to situations where there is an
appropriate nexus to the Party’s territory.
– Promote cooperation among the relevant authorities on competition and consumer protection
enforcement-related matters, including investigative assistance, notification, consultation,
and exchange of information.
Labor:
– Require Kenya to adopt and maintain in its laws and practices the internationally recognized
core labor standards as recognized in the ILO Declaration, including:
• Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
• Elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor;
• Effective abolition of child labor and a prohibition on the worst forms of child labor; and
• Elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
– Require Kenya to have laws governing acceptable conditions of work with respect to
minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health.
– Establish rules that will ensure that Kenya does not waive or derogate from labor laws
implementing internationally recognized core labor standards in a manner affecting trade or
investment between the Parties.
– Establish rules that will ensure that Kenya does not fail to effectively enforce labor laws
implementing internationally recognized core labor standards and acceptable conditions of
work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health
laws through a sustained or recurring course of action or inaction in a manner affecting trade
or investment between the Parties.
– Require Kenya to prohibit the importation of goods produced by forced labor, regardless of
the source country.
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– Require Kenya to ensure that foreign workers are protected under labor laws.
– Provide access to fair, equitable, and transparent administrative and judicial proceedings.
– Ensure that these labor obligations are subject to the same dispute settlement mechanism that
applies to other enforceable obligations of the Agreement.
– Establish a means for stakeholder participation, including through public advisory
committees, as well as a process for the public to raise concerns directly with their respective
governments if they believe a Party is not meeting its labor commitments.
– Establish or maintain a senior-level Labor Committee, which will meet regularly to oversee
implementation of labor commitments, and include a mechanism for cooperation and
coordination on labor issues, including opportunities for stakeholder input in identifying
areas of cooperation.
Environment:
– Establish strong and enforceable environment obligations that are subject to the same dispute
settlement mechanism that applies to other enforceable obligations of the Agreement.
– Establish rules that will ensure that Kenya does not waive or derogate from the protections
afforded in environmental laws for the purpose of encouraging trade or investment.
– Establish rules that will ensure that Kenya does not fail to effectively enforce environmental
laws through a sustained or recurring course of action or inaction in a manner affecting trade
or investment between the Parties.
– Require Kenya to adopt and maintain measures implementing obligations under select
Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) to which Kenya and the United States are
full parties, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora.
– Establish a means for stakeholder participation, including commitments for public advisory
committees, and a process for the public to raise concerns directly with its government if they
believe it is not meeting its environment commitments.
– Require Kenya to ensure access to fair, equitable, and transparent administrative and judicial
proceedings for enforcing environmental laws and provide appropriate sanctions or remedies
for violations of environmental laws.
– Provide for a framework for conducting, reviewing, and evaluating cooperative activities that
support implementation of the environment commitments, and for public participation in
these activities.
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– Establish or maintain a senior-level Environment Committee, which will meet regularly to
oversee implementation of environment commitments, with opportunities for public
participation in the process.
– Combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, including by implementing port
state measures and supporting increased monitoring and surveillance.
– Establish rules to prohibit harmful fisheries subsidies, such as those that contribute to
overfishing and IUU fishing, and pursue transparency in fisheries subsidies programs.
– Promote sustainable fisheries management and long-term conservation of marine species,
including sharks, sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals.
– Protect and conserve flora and fauna and ecosystems, including through action by countries
to combat wildlife and timber trafficking.
– Include provisions to mitigate the discharge of solid waste in the marine environment.
Anti-corruption:
– Secure provisions committing Kenya to criminalize government corruption, to take steps to
discourage corruption, and to provide adequate penalties and enforcement tools in the event
of prosecution of persons suspected of engaging in corrupt activities. In particular:
• Require the adoption or maintenance of requirements for companies to maintain accurate
books and records, which facilitate the detection and tracing of corrupt payments;
• Require the establishment of codes of conduct and the development of other tools to
promote high ethical standards among public officials;
• Require Parties to disallow the deduction of corrupt payments for income tax purposes;
and
• Encourage Parties to promote the active participation by the public in efforts to combat
corruption.
– Require measures that address money laundering, recovery of proceeds of corruption, denial
of safe haven for foreign public officials that engage in corruption, and protections for
whistleblowers.
Trade Remedies:
– Preserve the ability of the United States to enforce rigorously its trade laws, including the
antidumping (AD), countervailing duty (CVD), and safeguard laws.
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– Facilitate the ability to impose measures based on market distortions due to ongoing
subsidization or dumping.
– Promote cooperation between trade remedies administrators, particularly with regard to the
sharing of information that would improve the ability of administrators to effectively monitor
and address trade remedies violations.
– Strengthen existing procedures and create new procedures to address AD/CVD duty evasion,
including the ability to conduct AD/CVD duty evasion verification visits.
– Establish transparency and due process obligations reflected in U.S. AD/CVD laws,
regulations, and practice.
Government Procurement:
– Increase opportunities for U.S. firms to sell U.S. products and services to Kenya.
– Ensure reciprocity in market access opportunities for U.S. goods, services, and suppliers in
Kenya.
– Establish obligations and procedures to combat corruption in procurement.
– Establish fair, transparent, predictable, and non-discriminatory rules to govern government
procurement in Kenya, including rules mirroring existing U.S. government procurement
practices such as:
• Publishing information on government procurement opportunities in a timely manner;
• Ensuring sufficient time for suppliers to obtain tender documentation and submit bids;
• Ensuring that procurement will be handled under fair procedures;
• Ensuring that contracts will be awarded based solely on the evaluation criteria specified
in the notices and tender documentation; and
• Providing impartial administrative or judicial review authority to review challenges or
complaints.
– Exclude sub-federal coverage (state and local governments) from the commitments being
negotiated. Keep in place domestic preferential purchasing programs such as:
• Preference programs for small businesses, women and minority owned businesses (which
includes Native Americans), service-disabled veterans, and distressed areas;
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• “Buy America” requirements on Federal assistance to state and local projects,
transportation services, food assistance, and farm support; and
• Key Department of Defense procurement.
– Maintain broad exceptions for government procurement regarding:
• National security;
• Measures necessary to protect public morals, order, or safety;
• Protecting human, animal, or plant life or health; and
• Protecting intellectual property.
– Maintain ability to provide for labor, environmental, and other criteria to be included in
contracting requirements.
– Establish requirements that promote transparency in procurement statistics.
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME):
– Secure commitments by the Parties to provide information resources to help small businesses
navigate requirements for exporting to each other’s market.
– Cooperate on SME issues of mutual interest, including participation in the ongoing
implementation of the June 2018 Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government
of Kenya and the Government of the United States Concerning the Development and
Implementation of Strategic Infrastructure and “Big Four” Priority Projects in Kenya, as a
means of exchanging timely information on and enhancing trade and investment
opportunities related to Kenya’s “Big Four” economic agenda, which sets targets in the areas
of food security, affordable housing, manufacturing, and healthcare.
– Establish an SME Committee of government representatives to ensure that the needs of
SMEs are considered as the Agreement is implemented in order for SMEs to benefit from
new commercial opportunities.
– Establish an SME Dialogue in the Agreement that may include the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and other SME stakeholders to provide views and information
to the SME Committee.
Dispute Settlement:
– Encourage the early identification and settlement of disputes through consultation and other
mechanisms.
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– Establish a dispute settlement mechanism that is effective and timely, and in which panel
determinations are based on the provisions of the Agreement and the submissions of the
Parties and are provided in a reasoned manner.
– Establish a dispute settlement process that is transparent by:
• Requiring that Parties’ submissions be made publicly available;
• Requiring that hearings be open to the public;
• Requiring that final determinations by a panel be made publicly available; and
• Ensuring that non-governmental entities have the right to request making written
submissions to a panel.
– Have provisions that encourage compliance with the obligations of the Agreement.
– Provide mechanisms for ensuring that the Parties retain control of disputes and can address
situations when a panel has clearly erred in its assessment of the facts or the obligations that
apply.
General Provisions:
– Include general exceptions that allow for the protection of legitimate U.S. domestic
objectives, including the protection of health or safety and essential security, among others.
– Provide a mechanism for ensuring that the Parties assess the benefits of the Agreement on a
periodic basis.
– Provide mechanisms for terminating the Agreement under appropriate circumstances.
– Provide a mechanism to ensure transparency and take appropriate action if Kenya negotiates
a free trade agreement with a non-market country.
– With respect to commercial partnerships:
• Discourage actions that directly or indirectly prejudice or otherwise discourage
commercial activity solely between the United States and Israel;
• Discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel;
• Seek the elimination of politically motivated nontariff barriers on Israeli goods, services,
or other commerce imposed on Israel; and
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• Seek the elimination of state-sponsored unsanctioned foreign boycotts of Israel, or
compliance with the Arab League Boycott of Israel.
Currency:
– Ensure that Kenya avoids manipulating exchange rates in order to prevent effective balance
of payments adjustment or to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

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Kenyan business community lauds President Kenyatta for lifting the lockdown

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

The government has lifted the lockdown imposed earlier on major cities following the eruption of the Covid 19 pandemic. The announcement by President Uhuru Kenyatta on 6th July 2020 came just three days after Optiven Group CEO George Wachiuri called on the government to lift the lockdown. Wachiuri who was speaking in Kiambu County said this was imperative if the economy was to grow.

He added that, “while we support every effort to keep our people in good health, we have seen a large number sinking in to depression for lack of jobs and basic needs. The number of families seeking intervention for daily upkeep through the Optiven Foundation has grown tremendously in the last three months.

Wachiuri who is the chairman of the Optiven Foundation was referring to beneficiaries of the Spreading Hope campaign that was launched at the onset of the eruption of Covid 19. To date the Optiven Foundation has supported over 200 families under the campaign with beneficiaries domiciled in Kajiado, Machakos, Nairobi and Nyeri among others.

The eruption of Covid 19 pandemic has contributed to a rundown of the economy, affecting majority of sectors including health, manufacturing, education and many others.

With the pandemic came rising cases of infection and other unforeseen challenges that saw the government seeking partnership with stakeholders to mitigate the situation. Optiven Limited was among the first respondents with the company donating a quarter of a million to the national kitty. Wachiuri says, “as an investor in business in Kenya, Optiven felt this was our call to make a difference.

We believe in what the taskforce is doing to better the situation”. Through the award winning Foundation, the company has in 2020 continued to offer psycho-social support while adhering to the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization recommendations on engagement.

5 Key Facts On the Lifting of the Lockdown

  1. Cessation of movement in Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera lapses on 7th July 2020
  2. Curfew extended for 30 days
  3. Government to revert to lockdown if situation deteriorates or Covid 19 cases surge
  4. Vehicles traveling to and from areas that were previously restricted to be certified by the Ministry of Health
  5. On air travel, local travel to resume on 15th June 2020 while international travel to resume on 1st August 2020

Quote: “I urge all Kenyans to take personal responsibility and avoid unnecessary contact”.
Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya
6/7/2020

Thoughts by

George Wachiuri: A Leading Entrepreneur, a Published Author, Philanthropist, Youth Empowerment Enthusiast, a Family man and CEO of Optiven Group

Contact Optiven Group: 0790 300 300
Email: admin@optiven.co.ke
Website: https://www.optiven.co.ke

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Africa

Feds: Nigerian scammer arrested in $50M scheme that targeted Chicago companies

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A man from Nigeria has been arrested after being accused of running a $50 million scheme that targeted Chicago companies.

Olalekan Jacob Ponle allegedly got an unnamed Chicago-based company to wire transfer more than $15 million. Another local company lost $2.3 million, but investigators believe the scheme is worth more than $50 million.

Sources pointed WGN Investigates to his Instagram feed which looks like a lifestyle of the rich and famous.

Here’s how prosecutors said the alleged scheme worked.

Either he or his co-conspirators were able to gain access to company’s email accounts through a phishing attack.

In one of the Chicago cases, they allegedly sent an email that appeared to be from the company’s Chief Accounting Officer to another employee ordering the a transfer.

The criminal complaint says “The fraudulent email was almost identical to a prior, legitimate email” right down to the name on the bank account. But the account “number” was different.

Federal agents said Ponle’s scheme spanned at least 9 months last year.

During that time, one of his Instagram posts read: “Money don’t make a man, a man makes money.”

Ponle is a Nigerian national and was taken into custody in the United Arab Emirates. UAE expelled him and federal agents brought Ponle to Chicago Thursday night for an initial court appearance Friday morning.

A detention hearing is schedule for late next week.

By WGN

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