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Ambassador Marantis Completes Third Full Day of Participation at the AGOA Forum in Lusaka, Zambia

Ambassador Marantis began his day visiting a Zambian producer of organic honey, Forest Fruits, Ltd. Forest Fruits works with rural beekeepers and families in northern Zambia to collect honey in the Miombo forests using centuries-old, sustainable methods. The honey is prepared for market, bottled and sold in Africa and internationally under the brand “Zambezi Gold.” Forest Fruits has grown to now work with over 6,000 beekeepers and produce 750 tons of honey annually, increasing beekeepers’ incomes by 100 percent.

Following his visit, Marantis continued his bilateral meetings with AGOA country trade ministers, including Mauritian Trade Minister Arvin Boolel and Liberian Trade Minister of Commerce and Industry Miata Beysolow. Minister Boolel and Ambassador Marantis discussed Mauritius’s success in utilizing AGOA and the Administration’s plans to seek a seamless renewal of AGOA after 2015. Boolel and Marantis underscored their common priority in continuing technical discussions toward a U.S.-Mauritius Bilateral Investment Treaty and making progress in the context of the U.S.-Mauritius Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Minister Beysolow and Ambassador Marantis highlighted the incredible progress in bilateral trade and investment ties since the launch of the U.S.-Liberia TIFA in 2009. In that short time, for example, Liberia not only qualified to become eligible to export apparel under AGOA, but has already sent its first shipments of t-shirts to the United States. Liberia’s steady economic progress was highlighted throughout the Forum. Marantis and Beysolow agreed to hold a TIFA Council meeting in the second half of 2011, and pledged to continued to work on outstanding trade and investment issues.

Ambassador Marantis also met with West African Economic and Monetary Union member countries Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Mali to discuss regional economic integration and improving AGOA utilization.