Ambassador Marantis Concludes Trip to Mozambique with Private Sector Meeting and Visit to Seafood Exporter01/23/2012 12:22 PM
Following Thursday’s Council meeting of the United States-Mozambique Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in Mozambique, on Friday, January 20, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis met with a group of U.S. and Mozambican company representatives. They discussed the investment climate, opportunities and challenges to doing business in Mozambique, and how Mozambican companies, including women owned small- and medium-sized businesses can export to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
After the meeting, Ambassador Marantis visited Pescas do Sul, a medium-sized seafood processing company in Maputo with a staff of about 60 employees. He discussed the importance of Mozambique complying with turtle excluder devices (TED) regulations so companies like Pescas do Sul can participate in the lucrative U.S. market for seafood products.
01/20/2012 5:55 PM
Today, Ambassador Ron Kirk spoke to the members of the International Affairs Standing Committee at the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) 80th Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. Mayor Jean Quan, of Oakland, California and Chair of the International Standing Committee introduced him.
Ambassador Kirk discussed President Obama’s agenda to create jobs, noting that since the economic recovery began, there have been 22 straight months of private sector job creation. This has resulted in 3.2 million new jobs for American workers. “Manufacturing is not dead in America, manufacturing is alive,” stated Ambassador Kirk. The manufacturing sector has seen remarkable growth, one of the strongest periods since the late 1990s, with 334,000 new jobs in the past two years.
Ambassador Kirk further commented that while progress has been made in some sectors, it is important to continue to invest in innovation, education, and infrastructure. Further advancement in these sectors will reduce the deficit and rebuild communities all across the country. Promoting trade is one such way to invest in our local communities.
Ambassador Kirk described key USTR initiatives to keep American producers and companies competitive—allowing job-supporting opportunities through trade. This included working to implement trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama, and advancing negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. USTR is also focused on the enforcement of trade agreements so they adhere to World Trade Organization (WTO) requirements and fostering increased trade with developing countries in Africa and Latin America .
The Ambassador concluded his remarks by highlighting President Obama’s “Insourcing American Jobs” event last week at the White House. He encouraged America’s community leaders to express their needs in order to sustain strong and growing communities with better jobs for more Americans.
The USCM is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are more than 1,200 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented by its mayor. Mayors contribute to the development of national urban policy by serving on one or more of the Conference’s standing committees.
01/19/2012 6:32 PM
On January 18, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis traveled to Maputo, Mozambique to advance trade and investment relations between the United States and Mozambique. On January 19, Ambassador Marantis co-chaired, with Mozambican Minister of Industry and Commerce Armando Inroga, the third Council meeting of the United States-Mozambique Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).
The TIFA Council works toward deepening and strengthening commercial ties, and facilitates a high-level dialogue to help increase commercial and investment opportunities by identifying and working to remove barriers to trade and investment flows between the United States and Mozambique.
Ambassador Marantis was joined at the TIFA Council meeting by U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Leslie Rowe, and a U.S. delegation representing a number of agencies including the Departments of State and Agriculture, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the USAID-funded Southern Africa Trade Hub.
Ambassador Marantis Hosts TIFA Council Meeting
The TIFA Council meeting provided an opportunity to review progress, identify challenges, and develop specific steps and strategies to grow and diversify our bilateral trade and investment relationship with Mozambique. During the government-to-government meeting, officials from the United States and Mozambique explored common objectives, which included improving the utilization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), increasing export diversification, improving the investment climate, and protecting intellectual property rights (IPR).
The TIFA Council also discussed Mozambique’s Millennium Challenge Account compact. In addition, officials discussed trade capacity building and U.S.-provided technical assistance to support and facilitate Mozambique’s continued progress and success.
Ambassador Marantis Makes Remarks during the TIFA Council Meeting
As a result of the deliberations, the two sides agreed to a number of follow-up actions, including a possible Mozambique trade mission to the United States on the margins of the AGOA forum in June; U.S. assistance to help promote AGOA diversification to apparel, fruit juice, and other value-added products; and U.S. assistance in implementation of an Intellectual Property (IP) strategy - including training judges, enacting a framework for geographic indicators, and a branding strategy for Mozambique. Additionally, we announced a USAID grant of up to $500,000 that will help Mozambique with trade facilitation.
Ambassador Marantis also visited the Maputo Clothing Company - a Mozambican firm that at one point exported apparel to the U.S. under AGOA, but is not presently doing so. The purpose of the visit was to understand the challenges that Mozambican exporters have had with AGOA and whether further technical assistance from our regional trade hubs would help exporters in Mozambique position themselves to make use of AGOA.
Ambassador Marantis Visits the Maputo Clothing Company
On Final Day of Official Visit to Mauritius, Ambassador Marantis Meets with Prime Minister Ramgoolam, Delivers a Speech on Trade, and Visits an AGOA Exporter01/18/2012 12:09 PM
Following yesterday’s consultations under the U.S.-Mauritius Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis met with Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam. During their lengthy meeting, they discussed a number of issues regarding the U.S. economic relationship with Mauritius and the broader sub-Saharan region, including the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act’s (AGOA) third country fabric provision, the U.S.-Mauritius Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), regional integration, and the future of the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship beyond the current 2015 end of AGOA preferences.
Ambassador Marantis meets with Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam
Ambassador Marantis also delivered a speech, entitled “Paving the Way to Future Growth,” focused on U.S. trade policy for Mauritius and for the sub-Saharan Africa region more broadly. Ambassador Marantis gave the speech at an event hosted by the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry where he interacted with an audience of about 50 representatives from the business community, academia, and the Mauritian government.
Ambassador Marantis delivers a speech at an event sponsored by the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Ambassador Marantis also held a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration, and International Trade Arvin Boolell, and Minister of Information and Communication Technology Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum on a range of bilateral trade issues, including U.S.-Mauritius cooperation in the critical information and communications technology (ICT) sector and on working more closely in World Trade Organization (WTO) trade facilitation negotiations.
In addition, Ambassador Marantis met with private sector representatives, and toured Plastinax Austral. Plastinax is an eyeglasses producer and one of the many Mauritian firms taking advantage of duty-free access to the U.S. market under AGOA. Due to growing exports to the United States and other markets over the last two years, Plastinax has almost doubled the number of its workers to 400.
Ambassador Marantis tours Plastinax Austral, an eyeglasses producer
Ambassador Marantis Leads Consultations Under the U.S.-Mauritius Trade and Investment Framework Agreement01/17/2012 4:58 PM
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis began a visit to Mauritius yesterday by leading a high-level U.S. delegation for talks with the Mauritian government under the U.S.-Mauritius Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). The TIFA establishes a high level forum for advancing a cooperative partnership on trade and investment issues, and this was the fifth TIFA Council meeting with Mauritius. Ambassador Marantis and Mauritian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration, and International Trade Arvin Boolell, opened the meeting with a wide range of government and private sector participants. During the TIFA meeting, the two governments discussed a broad range of issues of importance to the bilateral U.S.-Mauritian trade and investment relationship, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha negotiations and trade facilitation, the ongoing U.S.-Mauritius Bilateral Investment Treaty discussions, intellectual property rights, services trade, information communication and technology (ICT) principles, and trade capacity building, among other issues.
Ambassador Marantis and Minister Boolell open the U.S.-Mauritius Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Discussions
U.S. officials from the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) also participated in the meeting. The Mauritian TIFA delegation included government officials from a number of ministries with responsibility for various trade and investment issues on the agenda, as well as others representing industry associations and interests.
As a result of the TIFA discussions, the two governments agreed on a number of key issues, including conclusion of the BIT, negotiation of a joint statement on ICT principles, technical support on IPR, and development of a new AGOA strategy.
Ambassador Marantis and the TIFA delegation were also welcomed at a reception during which they had the opportunity to discuss the U.S.-Mauritius trade and investment relationship with government and U.S. and Mauritian private sector representatives.
On Monday evening, Ambassador Marantis and the U.S. Charge d'Affaires Troy Frittel presented certificates to four Mauritian teachers who completed the e-Teacher Scholarship Program offered by the University of Oregon. The United States and Mauritius hope to step up work on e-education under the TIFA.
01/17/2012 12:34 PM
This week, Chief Agricultural Negotiator Isi Siddiqui will travel to Florida to discuss how agricultural exports are a vital part of Florida’s economy. USTR’s weekly trade spotlight focuses on how trade benefits Florida’s business and workers.
Florida is known for many things. Whether it’s for sunny beaches, amusement parks or the everglades, people flock to Florida for a variety of reasons. However, what most people may not know is that Florida is the fourth largest state exporter in the United States.
From agriculture to manufacturing to services, Floridians all across the sunshine state depend on trade for their paycheck. For example, in 2008, jobs supported by Florida’s goods exports were estimated to be 168,000 – and these jobs pay 13-19 percent higher than the national average wage.
While most people think of Florida for its citrus and citrus juices – and for good reason as Florida is the third largest state exporter of fruit – many people forget about Florida’s booming manufacturing sector. Exports of computers, transportation equipment, chemicals, and machinery led to an 89 percent increase in exports in just 10 years. One of seven manufacturing workers in Florida depends on exports for their job.
The same goes for workers in the agricultural sector. More than 25,400 jobs in Florida are supported both on and off the farm in food processing, storage, and transportation by agricultural exports. These exports will only increase once tariff barriers are removed with Korea, Colombia, and Panama upon the implementation of these trade agreements.
Besides working to implement trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama to help Florida exporters, USTR is working on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This new 21st-century agreement will provide new opportunities for Florida businesses to export to various Asia-Pacific countries, opening new markets for high-quality Florida goods to be sold around the world.
01/11/2012 2:30 PM
This morning, Ambassador Kirk joined President Obama at the “Insourcing American Jobs” forum at the White House. This forum focused on increasing the trend of companies choosing to “insource” jobs and make new investments in the United States. The event was attended by 22 experts, labor leaders, elected officials, and business leaders from large and small companies. The forum provided an opportunity for participants to speak about their experiences and discuss additional steps for job creation in America.
The forum was broken down into three roundtable segments: the economics of bringing jobs back, company experiences with onshoring, and how partnership can help break down barriers. The discussions varied from “insourcing” trends to onshoring decision making to Federal efforts and additional business partnerships. In conjunction with the forum, the White House today released a report that details the emerging trend of “insourcing” and how companies are increasingly choosing to invest in the United States. The full report can be found here.
As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded, USTR is working to implement trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama as well as negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. These agreements will provide important opportunities for American businesses to hire workers and create good jobs here at home. In addition, they provide an opportunity to “insource” jobs for American workers by selling high-quality and high-value American products around the world.