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USTR Lauds Progress By COMESA On African Regional Economic Integration

by Glen Shapiro, for LawAndTax-News.com

11 April 2008


At a meeting last Thursday with a delegation from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Deputy US Trade Representative John K. Veroneau commended COMESA’s work in advancing economic integration in sub-Saharan Africa.

“COMESA has made great strides in integrating the markets of its 19 member countries,” explained Ambassador Veroneau.

“During the ten-year tenure of outgoing COMESA Secretary-General Mwencha, COMESA has launched a free trade area , addressed regional customs and transportation bottlenecks, and laid the basis for a common investment area and a customs union."

"These achievements have facilitated the region’s integration into the global economy and improved the economic competitiveness of COMESA member countries. The United States is pleased to have provided technical assistance to advance much of this work,” he added.

Veroneau was speaking at the opening of the latest high-level consultation between the United States and COMESA under the United States-COMESA Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa Florizelle Liser led the discussions for the United States during most of the half-day meeting, which included talks 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.

Secretary-General Mwencha, who led the discussions for COMESA, is leaving his COMESA post later this month to become the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission.


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