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In violation of World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, the U.S. also insists Kenya must not tax digital products like e-books or music, and must also not require U.S. firms to store data locally.
Although Kenya has often recognized Israel, it rarely makes public statements endorsing either Israel or Palestine, supports the two-state solution, and allows Palestine to operate a representative office in Nairobi.
This condition, among others in the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between Washington and Nairobi, is seen as a way to "entrap" Kenya into the Israel-Palestine conflict, requiring that the country does not openly show support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) global campaign.
The deal, as seen by The East African newspaper, prohibits actions that prejudice or discourage business between the U.S. and Israel, arguing the FTA should "discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel." The U.S. further wants the: "elimination of politically-motivated, non-tariff barriers on Israeli goods, services or other commerce imposed on Israel; and the elimination of state-sponsored, unsanctioned foreign boycotts of Israel, or compliance with the Arab League Boycott of Israel."
Raising a petition opposing the negotiations under these conditions, the coordinator of the East African Tax and Governance Network and vice-president of the International Relations Society of Kenya, Leonard Wanyama, said: "Due to Kenya's own special relationship with Israel and its pragmatic approach in dealing with tensions in the Middle East, U.S. demands for such political connotations in the USTFA would undercut the country's reputation."
Palestine's BDS movement against Israel, for which Washington seeks to end all international support, seeks to have Israel meet all obligations under international law, including, not limited to, withdrawing Israel from the occupied territories; removing the separation barrier from the West Bank; recognizing full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel; and "respecting, promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties," according to a bulletin by the BDS committee.
Nairobi's own published objectives for the negotiations include not only that the agreement must be discussed within East African Community (EAC) and WTO regulations, but that it takes into consideration "special and differential treatment applicable to Kenya as a developing country." This includes, among other elements, allowing Kenya duty-free market access without expecting reciprocal treatment, a preferential statute established under WTO guidelines.