USTR - USTR Zoellick Announces Enhanced Support for SADC Trade Competitiveness
Office of the United States Trade Representative

 

USTR Zoellick Announces Enhanced Support for SADC Trade Competitiveness
Contact: Richard Mills (202) 395-3230 02/16/2002

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - The United States Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick announced today that the United States is providing $8.7 million in support of three new trade capacity building initiatives for the Southern Africa Development Community region (SADC). The support programs were announced at a meeting of ministers from eight SADC countries-Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Angola. Also present were SADC Executive Secretary Prega Ramsamy and U.S. Ambassador to Botswana John E. Lange, the U.S. Secretary of State's Special Representative to SADC.

Ambassador Zoellick is visiting Kenya, South Africa and Botswana on February 12-21 in a trip focused on encouraging the growing trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. "The initiatives funded by this support program," said Ambassador Zoellick, "will help the region to become more competitive in global markets." Ambassador Lange added, "They will also help SADC regional trade agenda and the implementation of its free trade area." U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick is a member of U.S. President George W. Bush's Cabinet with the rank of Ambassador who serves as the President's principal trade policy adviser and chief trade negotiator.

Funding for the three new trade capacity building initiatives is being provided through the Regional Center for Southern Africa of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana. They include a three-year, $3 million support package that will help SADC countries take advantage of duty-free access to the U.S. market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA); a two-year, $2.7 million customs cooperation and trade facilitation initiative that will help promote both intra-regional and global trade competitiveness; and a two-year, $3 million agricultural trade initiative that will help local producers meet global food safety standards.

The eight SADC ministers met in Pretoria with Ambassador Zoellick to discuss the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and its proposed expansion under AGOA II, as well as synergies between AGOA and the SADC Free Trade Area. They also discussed the World Trade Organization (WTO) and opportunities for U.S.-SADC cooperation following the successful Doha meeting of the WTO in November 2001.

FACT SHEET: USG SUPPORT TO SADC FOR TRADE BUILDING

The U.S. Government, through the Regional Center for Southern Africa (RCSA) of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing US$8.7 million in support of three new trade capacity building initiatives for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, as follows.

Enhanced SADC Participation in AGOA - $3 million: This initiative will allow SADC countries to take advantage of duty-free access to the U.S. market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). It also will focus on expanded trade and investment opportunities and provide assistance to the SADC Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana, and to SADC member states on AGOA implementation, as well as other regional and global trade issues. Additionally, it aims to strengthen trade negotiating and trade agreement management skills among trade officials and technical staff, both at the SADC Secretariat and in SADC member states, and to increase the private sector and civil society's understanding and awareness of global and regional trade issues. To boost the region's ability to accelerate exports to the U.S. under AGOA, assistance will be directed toward private exporters, include guidance on market access issues and facilitation of linkages between U.S. and SADC firms and business associations. The joint USAID/SADC cooperation program will include measures enhancing the investment attractiveness of the SADC region.

SADC Customs Cooperation and Trade Facilitation Initiative - $2.7 million: This initiative will support the SADC region's efforts to modernize customs administration in pursuit of the ideals expressed in the SADC Trade Protocol. Specifically, it aims to strengthen the capacity of the SADC Secretariat and the SADC Sub-Committee on Customs Cooperation to coordinate the implementation of the customs and trade facilitation aspects of the SADC FTA. It will support regional initiatives to simplify, standardize and harmonize customs procedures; improve customs cooperation at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels; and develop and strengthen cooperation and consultation between customs administrations and stakeholders.

Expanding Global and Regional Agricultural Trade - $3 million: This initiative will provide technical support to reinforce SADC as it implements a comprehensive program on the harmonization of the region's food safety standards. The program will facilitate intra-SADC trade in agricultural products under the SADC FTA and will help regional producers of agricultural products meet world food safety standards and thereby gain greater access to global markets. Technical support will be focused on enhanced the capabilities of the SADC Secretariat and member states' agricultural ministers in food safety standards and other agricultural trade issues.

 
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