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US seeking to force Kenya to oppose BDS in return for trade deal

THE United States is seeking to make opposition to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in solidarity with Palestine a condition of a free trade deal being negotiated with Kenya, The East African newspaper revealed this week.

A commitment to “discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel” is among US objectives in papers seen by the newspaper.

It also seeks “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.”

These objectives sit alongside economic demands including that Kenya not levy any tax on digital products.

The East African Tax and Governance Network and East African Trade Network, which had already objected to the free trade negotiations over the tax proposals, said the anti-BDS policy would “entrap” Kenya and should be opposed.

The BDS movement is an international campaign to boycott Israeli goods and services complicit in the illegal occupation of Palestine.

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