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Ambassador Kirk Discusses Policy Priorities with Trade Advisory Committee on Africa

On December 7, Ambassador Ron Kirk met with members of the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa (TACA) to discuss the ways in which the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) plans to advance the Obama Administration’s African trade policy agenda. The TACA, comprised of 19 representatives from the private sector, civil society, and academia, is tasked with providing the USTR with policy advice on issues involving trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ambassador Kirk Hosts TACA Meeting
Ambassador Kirk, with Ambassador Marantis and AUSTR Florie Liser, hosts Trade Advisory Committee on Africa meeting

Noting the substantial achievements of the overall trade agenda over the past few months, Ambassador Kirk told committee members that now is a good time to focus on other trade priorities, including Africa. Moving forward, USTR staff members want to continue building on a number of recent successes, including progress on certain African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) initiatives; the eleven Trade and Investment Frameworks Agreements (TIFAs) in Africa; and the seven Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with African nations, including the most recent with Rwanda.

Delving into more detail on AGOA, Ambassador Kirk spoke about plans to work with Congress on the extension of AGOA’s third country fabric provision, a key part of the preference program that is set to expire in September 2012. Kirk also looked ahead to the 2012 AGOA Forum, which will be hosted by the United States.

After Ambassador Kirk responded to questions, Ambassador Demetrios Marantis provided members with the latest information on the new trade and investment approach with the East African Community (EAC). He concluded by updating members on consultations with Congress and opening the meeting for discussion regarding the future of the African trade agenda.