TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

USTR Zoellick to Travel to Sub-Saharan Africa

Monday, 06 December 2004

Source: United States Department of State (Washington, DC)

US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Zoellick travels to three countries in West Africa December 7-10 to discuss ways to further global trade liberalization through the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Agenda and to learn more about Africa's needs on cotton and other key products.

Zoellick's visit to Senegal, Benin and Mali will fulfill a pledge he made to West African trade ministers in Geneva earlier in 2004 to continue a dialogue with African countries interested in the global cotton trade and development.

These three countries also receive special trade access to the U.S. market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and are candidates for development funding under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), an innovative approach to aid initiated by President Bush.

"African nations and the United States share many common interests in the WTO negotiations, and I look forward to discussing how we can build on our cooperative efforts to advance both the Doha agenda and our bilateral trading ties," Zoellick noted in a press release announcing his trip.

"To fulfill the promise of these negotiations and address trade matters of concern to Africa and the United States, including cotton, we need an ambitious overall reform package in the Doha WTO negotiations that includes broad agriculture trade reform and other trade liberalization."

Following stops in West Africa, Zoellick will travel to Namibia and Lesotho on December 10-13 to discuss AGOA and bilateral trade and development initiatives.

In Namibia, Zoellick will meet with trade ministers from the five Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries -- Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland -- to advance ongoing negotiations toward a U.S.-SACU Free Trade Agreement.

In addition to meeting ministers responsible for trade at each stop, Zoellick will also see local legislators, farmers and businesspeople to hear Africans' perspectives on how open markets and expanded trade can help to raise living standards and overcome poverty. He will also visit facilities that benefit from duty-free access to the U.S. market under AGOA, and sites that might be the focus of funding from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

"In addition to discussing the WTO negotiations, I plan to listen and learn more about the economic success of AGOA. I also want to discuss the opportunities we have to further connect free trade and open commerce to economic growth, regional integration, and political reforms through MCC development aid. I look forward to the opportunity to reaffirm our vision for a comprehensive free trade agreement with SACU and to see how we can move the negotiations forward," Zoellick said.

This will be Zoellick's fifth visit to sub-Saharan Africa as USTR and his third trip in 2004. He will be accompanied by Assistant USTR for Africa Florie Liser, Assistant USTR for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison Chris Padilla, Assistant USTR for Trade Capacity Building Mary Ryckman and Director for WTO Agricultural Negotiations Jason Hafemeister.

Regularly updated trade statistics on include (Click to follow the links):

  • All Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Overview

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.