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Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Florie Liser Speaks About AGOA Forum

08/03/2009 - 3:59pm

This week, Ambassador Kirk will travel to Nairobi, Kenya for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. As part of the U.S. delegation, Ambassador Kirk will focus on how to help improve the world economy through trade.

Joining him will be Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (AUSTR) for African Affairs Florie Liser. AUSTR Liser recorded a video for USTR.gov on the importance of AGOA. She talks about how the program is helping African countries can use trade to help alleviate poverty and raise living standards.

Watch the video, and read the transcript below.

 

"Next week, Ambassador Ron Kirk, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and I will travel to Nairobi, Kenya for the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum.

At the AGOA Forum, we'll talk about how the United States and Africa countries can work together to recover from the global economic crisis.

Many economists speculated that sub-Saharan Africa would remain insulated from the effects of the global economic crisis - but, as we all know, African countries too have been affected and have seen their trade decrease.

President Obama, Ambassador Kirk and I believe that trade is an important ingredient for growth, both in Africa and here at home.

AGOA can help. It provides African countries with special, preferential access to U.S. markets. Nearly all goods from eligible countries are allowed to enter the U.S. duty-free.

When that happens, everyone wins.

Since AGOA began nine years ago, all kinds of imports from AGOA countries have increased - including flowers from Kenya, apparel from Lesotho, and processed food items from West Africa. Americans are seeing more of what Africa can bring to the global market.

Last year non-oil imports from AGOA countries were nearly four times what they were in 2001.

That growth is the product of a lot of hard work.

Through AGOA, exporters across sub-Saharan Africa have access to training and technical assistance through four regional trade hubs funded and managed by USAID.

Forty sub-Saharan African countries are now eligible for trade benefits under AGOA.

This year's Forum is about realizing the full potential of AGOA. Our goal is to ensure that all 40 of those countries have the ability to realize their potential.

At the AGOA Forum we will discuss ways to build on AGOA's success and encourage the new trade flows that will hasten global economic recovery.

Check back at ustr.gov to follow our progress throughout the week."