Greenpeace Urges Kenya to Shun U.S. Plastics Push in Trade Talks

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Kenya must reject a bilateral trade deal with the U.S. as it includes proposals by a lobby group to expand the plastics industry’s footprint across Africa, effectively reversing the country’s ban on the use of plastic bags, Greenpeace said.

The American Chemistry Council Inc. has written to the U.S. Trade Representative stating that its members, which include Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SE, want to use Kenya as a continental hub for supplying U.S.-made chemicals and plastics, the London-based environmental group said in a statement on its website.

The East African nation is negotiating a new trade agreement with the U.S. in what could be a model for President Donald Trump’s push for bilateral pacts in Africa. The current, continent-wide deal, known as the African Growth Opportunity Act, expires in 2025.

“This trade deal could turn Kenya into a dump-site and diminish what the country has achieved,” said Fredrick Njehu, Greenpeace Africa’s senior political adviser. “We are petitioning the Ministry of Trade to say no to this deal.”

Betty Maina, Kenya’s trade secretary, said “the U.S. has not tabled the request,” when contacted by phone for comment.

East Africa’s biggest economy has since June 5 banned single-use plastics at its beaches, national parks, forests and other conservation areas. It banned the use of plastic bags in August 2017.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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