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Ambassador Marantis Participates in AGOA Events, Promotes Regional Economic Integration

After arriving in Zambia on Wednesday, Ambassador Marantis today completed his second day of meetings and discussions at the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Lusaka. The AGOA Forum brings together hundreds of U.S. and sub-Saharan government representatives, as well as civil society and business stakeholders. U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk is leading the U.S. government delegation of the Forum.

Some highlights from two days of back-to-back events included Ambassador Marantis’s participation in a private sector panel organized by the Corporate Council on Africa entitled “Improving the Implementation of AGOA.” Joined by American and African private sector representatives, Marantis highlighted key questions the United States and its AGOA trading partners must address to promote better utilization of AGOA’s benefits.

Ambassador Marantis at the AGOA Private Sector Forum
Ambassador Marantis at the Corporate Council on Africa Private Sector Forum

In addition, Ambassador Marantis co-chaired a plenary session with African Union Deputy Chairman Erastus Mwencha focusing on promoting regional economic integration in Africa. Just 16 percent of African trade is with other African countries. Promoting greater regional trade and investment would not only help support additional jobs, but would also generate economies of scale, encourage regional supply chains, and attract additional investment.

Ambassador Marantis also held a number of bilateral meetings with African trade ministers attending the Forum. Meeting with Mozambique’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Armando Inroga, Marantis raised concerns about that country’s business climate. Marantis expressed his interest in working on these concerns and other issues under the U.S.-Mozambique Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.