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USTR Submits African Trade Policy Progress Report To Congress

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

22 May 2007


The US Trade Representative on Friday submitted a comprehensive report to Congress on the results of US trade and investment policy with regard to sub-Saharan Africa.

The 2007 Comprehensive Report on US Trade and Investment Policy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa and Implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) noted that two-way trade between the United States and sub-Saharan African countries increased 17% in 2006 over 2005, reaching almost $71.3 billion, with both US exports to and imports from the region growing.

The report also detailed the wide range of US programs that are assisting African countries to strengthen economic growth and development through trade.

"The Administration is proud of its efforts to bring sub-Saharan Africa more fully into the community of trading nations. Trade is the best tool we have to alleviate poverty and spur economic development, and AGOA is a key element in America’s effort,” explained US Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab, adding that:

“Since AGOA’s launch in 2000, two-way trade between the United States and sub-Saharan African countries has increased 143 percent.”

According to the 2007 report, the United States devoted $394 million to trade capacity building activities in sub-Saharan Africa in FY2006, up 95% from FY2005.

Of this amount, trade-related assistance from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) accounted for $276 million. In FY2006, the United States launched implementation of the five-year, $200 million African Global Competitiveness Initiative (AGCI), which is designed to help improve the competitiveness of sub-Saharan African enterprises.

The United States was a leading provider of foreign direct investment to sub-Saharan Africa. At year-end 2005 (most recent data available), the US direct investment position had risen 16% from 2004, to $14.8 billion.

The Administration is using bilateral and regional trade agreements to strengthen trade and investment relationships with key African partners. Over the last year, the Administration signed trade and investment framework agreements (TIFAs) with Rwanda, Mauritius, and Liberia, while simultaneously intensifying cooperative work with existing TIFA partners.

In November 2006, the United States and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) agreed to pursue a new type of agreement – a trade and investment cooperation agreement (TICA) – that could help lead to a free trade agreement in the longer term.


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