US official Katherine Tai refuses to meet Trade Minister Kuria over foul mouth

Wednesday July 19 2023
Katherine Tai

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai during an interview in Nairobi, Kenya on September 13, 2022. PHOTO | NMG


The nasty public tirades and social media posts of outspoken and unapologetic Kenya's Industrialisation, Trade and Investment Cabinet Secretary (CS) Moses Kuria have landed him in trouble.

This time, the Nation has established that the visiting United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai cancelled two scheduled meetings with Kuria to discuss the trade ties between the two countries.

Sources said Ms Tai was to meet Kuria on Monday at his Two Rivers office but cancelled, labelling him an ‘extremist’ over his unpalatable remarks against individuals and institutions.

Read: Kenya forced to disown minister's 'invade Sudan' comment

Ambassador Tai, who has been in the country from Monday to co-lead a meeting of the US-East Africa Community Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (Tifa) council, is reported to have expressed her reservations with the conduct of the Trade CS.

Mr Kuria was supposed to attend the Tifa council meeting alongside his East Africa Community and Arid and Semi-Arid Lands counterpart Rebbeca Miano, but he was reportedly locked out.


Mr Kuria is said to have been labelled an ‘unwanted’ host.

“The ambassador cancelled her planned engagement with Kuria at his office. Today (yesterday), he was blocked from the scheduled meeting with the US official, but CS Maino proceeded with her meeting,” disclosed multiple sources within government who spoke to the Nation in confidence.

The isolation of Kuria comes at a time the US is on a charm offensive in Africa, views Kenya as the East Africa Community (EAC) entry hub and affirmed by US Ambassador Meg Whitman as the next Silicon Valley.

Bilateral trade

President Joe Biden’s administration is focused on expanding markets for US goods and services in Sub-Saharan Africa and to facilitate efforts to bolster Africa economic development through increased global, regional and bilateral trade.

Read: Kenya expects trade deal with US in a year

On July 14 last year, Ms Tai and former Trade CS Betty Maina issued a joint statement launching the US -Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership on eleven areas of mutual interest.

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