TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Angola and US to sign general cooperation accord

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Source: Angola Press Agency (Luanda)

A general accord for the expansion of trade relations between Angola and the United States of America (USA) will be signed soon, said Sunday in Luanda, Angolan ambassador, Josefina Pitra Diakité, before leaving for Washington.

Speaking to Angop, the head of Angolan diplomatic mission to the USA, said that the accord was not signed earlier on because the two countries' governments decided there was need to mature ideas.

However, in view of the current level of development of political and diplomatic relations, Josefina Diakité believes that it is high time the parties moved towards "the celebration of an accord that makes room for the growth of trade relations."

"I am speaking in the perspective of an accord that was proposed to us by the US administration, which is under analysis and on good track, at the level of our authorities, that is on the Trade Investment First Accord (TIFA)," said the diplomat.

According to Josefina Diakité the deal is a very general accord a significant number of African countries has already signed.

She said the accord sets a background from which trade relations can develop and institutions from both countries exchange commercial experience, with a view to the emergence of more specific and entailing agreements, from the commercial viewpoints.

The diplomat also said Angolan Government is currently making an effort to integrate the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) that was adopted by president Bush, following the Millennium Summit, held in September 2000, at the UN headquarters.

To Josefina Diakité, the accord is one of the most important programmes of the US administration, as it enables the countries admitted to design, on their own, their projects and negotiate and benefit from non-refundable grants.

"It is a fund open to all developing countries. What matters in this programme is that the beneficiaries can harmonise their interests and define what is best and negotiate with US specialists", said the official.

Josefina Diakité further stated that in these negocitations the financial pachages are defined in line with the criteria set by the beneficiary upon approval from the MCA.

According to the diplomat, should Angola manage to enter the programme, it would be of considerable aid, within the context of the huge national reconstruction challenges and deepening of the bases for a sustainable development.

On the other hand, the Angolan ambassador to the USA mentioned the fact that the country was admitted, in December 2003, to the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), an institution that paves the path for the development of trade with the USA.

Established in 2000, AGOA covers 37 African countries south of Sahara that have met the legibility requirements. It is a key element of president Bush policy towards promoting Africa's development.

To the diplomat, the admission of Angola to AGOA is an successful achievement, as trade relations with the USA are complex and very demanding.

She said that Angolan specialists are currently working with US colleagues seeking the necessary institutional support for the country's public and private institutions to export agricultural and fishery products to the USA.

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