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USTR Holds Talks With COMESA

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

16 February 2007


US trade and development officials on Wednesday held in-depth discussions with a delegation from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

The half-day meeting was the latest high-level consultation between the two parties under the terms of the United States-COMESA Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

US Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab opened the meeting, which included discussions on US-COMESA trade, implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the WTO Doha negotiations, trade capacity building activities, infrastructure issues, and investment.

Deputy US Trade Representative Karan Bhatia and Assistant US Trade Representative Florizelle Liser led the discussions for the US side during different parts of the half-day meeting.

The COMESA delegation was led by Secretary-General Erastus J. O. Mwencha, and included leaders of several Eastern and Southern African farmers’ organizations.

"The United States enjoys an active and wide-ranging trade and investment partnership with COMESA," announced Ambassador Schwab this week. She continued:

"Two-way trade between the United States and the 20 members of COMESA is strong and growing, exceeding $23 billion in the first eleven months of 2006. COMESA has been a constructive partner, helping to make the most of our successful AGOA trade preferences program. Our regular consultations under the TIFA also help us to identify shared objectives in the Doha talks and to enhance our trade capacity building activities in the COMESA regional organization."


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