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US Committed To Strong Trade Partnership With Africa

by Leroy Baker,, New York

26 March 2009

Newly installed US Trade Representative Ron Kirk has said that increased trade will help advance the development of the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in the world.

“The Obama Administration is committed to a strong partnership with African countries on trade,” said Kirk on March 24 against the backdrop of the second high-level meeting under the US-Mozambique Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), signed in 2005.

Kirk added: “We know that expanded trade can make an important contribution to boosting growth and reducing poverty in Africa. Moreover, economic growth in developing countries, like Mozambique, also benefits the American economy by expanding markets for American exporters. We will use the TIFA process and our trade capacity building assistance to support Mozambique’s efforts to improve its business environment and use trade to advance economic development.”

The day-long TIFA Council meeting included discussions on two-way US-Mozambican trade, implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the WTO Doha negotiations, trade capacity building activities, and measures to improve the environment for two-way US-Mozambican trade. More than a dozen US government agencies participated in the discussions.

Two-way goods trade between the United States and Mozambique nearly doubled in 2008, totaling USD229m. US exports to Mozambique totaled USD213m in 2008, up 86% from the previous year, and included energy products, wheat, trucks, and tractors. US imports from Mozambique were valued at a relatively tiny - in international trade terms - USD16.8m during 2008, although this was 214% higher than the previous year, and included titanium and tantalum ores, cashews, and semi-precious stones.

Substantially all Mozambican imports entered the US duty-free in 2008, either under most-favored-nation zero-rate provisions, AGOA, or the Generalized System of Preferences.

Mozambique is one of 11 sub-Saharan African countries and regional organizations with which the United States has a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.

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