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Weekly Trade Spotlight: Trade with Africa

12/07/2010 - 1:12pm

This week, Ambassador Kirk will be meeting with the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa. This week's trade spotlight is on trade with Africa.

The Obama Administration is working to expand two-way trade and investment between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa because it has potential to increase economic growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. To that end, USTR is helping to facilitate investment in new African markets for U.S. goods and services, as well as facilitating African efforts to bolster economic development through increased trade.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) legislation, which took effect in 2000, is at the center of U.S. trade policy towards sub-Saharan Africa. AGOA provides incentives that promote economic and political reform and trade expansion in eligible sub-Saharan African countries. The legislation also provides duty-free access to the U.S. market for more products, like processed foods, apparel, and footwear. This year, about 94 percent of imports from qualifying nations entered the U.S. duty-free.

The United States has an extensive presence across Africa. Through efforts like AGOA, Americans are helping African nations to expand their economies and drive their own development. U.S. companies are benefiting from the expansion of trade, too. New markets mean more consumers to sell to, and stronger two-way trade relationships.

In addition to AGOA, the Administration and USTR have worked to open African markets to U.S. companies, in close consultation with the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa. New markets are being created through Trade and Investment Framework Agreements, bilateral treaties, and trade capacity building assistance, which empowers African nations to utilize the opportunities available to them under AGOA and other global trade agreements.

The United States is also among the largest single-country contributors to the World Bank and other multilateral development banks, and is a major contributor to other international organizations providing trade capacity building assistance to Africa.

President Obama has called on African and American leaders to forge partnerships commensurate with Africa’s vital and growing role in the global community, and that reflect past, present, and future ties between African nations and the United States.

Now ten years after the passage of AGOA the United States remains committed to helping Africa fulfill the promise of a new century as we continue to build shared prosperity and create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.