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US Looks At TIFA With West Africa

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

03 April 2013

Acting United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis has announced that the United States is exploring the possibility of a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The proposal was said to demonstrate the ongoing support for ECOWAS from the US, as well as its continued commitment to Africa's regional integration and to deepening US economic engagement in West Africa.

The ECOWAS member states are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

"A TIFA with the ECOWAS can significantly contribute to economic growth and increased international competitiveness on both sides of the Atlantic," added Marantis. "We are excited about the opportunity to work with these important West African partners on boosting our trade and investment relationship."

If concluded, it is hoped that the TIFA would create opportunities for US companies interested in doing business in West Africa, and would assist in addressing impediments to US trade and investment in the region. It would also provide a forum for discussion of topics relevant to economic integration efforts in West Africa.

The proposed US-ECOWAS TIFA would build on the US Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, which was unveiled in June 2012, and which calls for more enhanced and focused engagement on trade and investment between the US and sub-Saharan Africa.

The US currently has TIFAs with four African regional economic organizations: the East African Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the West African Economic and Monetary Union, and the Southern African Customs Union. The US also has eight bilateral TIFA partners in sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Ghana, Liberia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa.

It was confirmed that the US has already been using those bilateral and regional TIFAs to support regional integration and encourage greater two-way trade and investment.

TAGS: business | Burkina Faso | Liberia | Mauritius | Niger | Nigeria | law | trade treaty | Cape Verde | Mali | agreements | Benin | Gambia, The | Guinea | Senegal | Sierra Leone | Togo | United States | trade | Ghana | Guinea-Bissau

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