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Ambassador Kirk Continues His Visit to Lusaka, Zambia to Lead the 10th Annual AGOA Forum

Today, Ambassador Kirk toured International Trade Exhibition at the AGOA Forum, where he was able to see and interact with various local Zambian companies, as well as organizations and companies from the rest of Africa. Ambassador Kirk also met with some of the many U.S. businesses at the exhibition which are investing in or doing joint ventures in AGOA-eligible countries. The booths he visited at the exhibition showcased African and American goods and services, including infrastructure development, natural resources, agribusiness, financial services, textiles, and apparel.

In the afternoon, Ambassador Kirk participated in a bilateral meeting with Ghana Trade Minister Hannah Tettah. During the meeting, Ambassador Kirk expressed how pleased he is with the recent increase in U.S.-Ghana trade, but also noted that there is still significant room for growth and diversification of trade in both directions. The two leaders discussed strategies for increasing export diversification, and specifically how AGOA can be used as part of that strategy.

In the evening, Ambassador Kirk joined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Closing Ceremony of the ministerial segment of the AGOA forum at the Mulungushi International Convention Center, followed by a dinner hosted by Zambian President Banda at the State House. At both events, he expressed his gratitude to President Banda and the Zambian government for welcoming him and the rest of the U.S. delegation to Zambia. He also highlighted how successful and productive discussions where throughout the entire Forum.

Tomorrow morning, Ambassador Kirk will conclude his trip to Zambia by joining Secretary Clinton for a ceremony marking the launch of the first-ever Zambian-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). He will deliver remarks congratulating the work of the U.S. Embassy in Zambia in coordinating with the AmCham affiliation. Among the 25-30 charter members of this new AmCham chapter are Citibank, Cargill, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Freeport McMoran, Pioneer-Dupont, and Microsoft. This new AmCham will be an important component in working with the newly-formed U.S.-Zambia Working Group on Bilateral Trade and AGOA. The AmCham will also facilitate joint business ventures between U.S. and Zambian companies and encourage economic growth.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was enacted by Congress in 2000 and is a 15-year agreement that encourages the growth of sub-Saharan African nations’ economies and the export of their goods to the U.S. It opens 98 percent of U.S. markets to the 37 eligible African countries duty-free and is set to expire in 2015. This year marks the 10th annual meeting of the AGOA Forum.