TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

East Africa: First EAC-USA Council on Trade and Investment meeting

Monday, 15 February 2010


The EAC-USA Trade and Investment Council will hold its inaugural meeting on 15 February 2010 in Kampala, Uganda, with discussions on various areas of cooperation forming the agenda. The EAC region will be represented by the Ministers for Trade from the five EAC Partner States headed by Hon. Dr. Mary M. Nagu, Minister for Industry, Trade and Marketing of the United Republic of Tanzania, who is the current Chairperson of the Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment. The United States will be represented by the United States Deputy Trade Representative Amb. Demetrios Marantis. The Secretary General and the Director General – Customs and Trade will represent the EAC Secretariat.

The EAC under the auspices of the EAC Customs Union signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the USA on 16 July 2008, on the sidelines of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum held in Washington DC. Prior to that, the EAC Summit at its session in Kigali Rwanda in early July 2008, had directed the Secretary General to sign the TIFA on behalf of EAC. Ultimately, the Director General – Customs and Trade signed the Agreement on behalf of EAC, while the then United States Trade Representative, Amb. Susan Schwab signed on behalf of the USA Government.

The TIFA provides the ultimate opportunity for the EAC region as a bloc to comprehensively engage in constructive and productive Trade and Investment relations with the United States. Under the foregoing, therefore the EAC region has developed keen interest in ensuring that the EAC-USA-TIFA is operationalised to the mutual benefit of both the contracting parties. The TIFA dovetails perfectly with the region's level of ambition and aspirations, which include in the foreseeable future having a single investment location that builds on the existing single trade regime. The region's focus on TIFA-like agreements is a testimony that the EAC is a unified bloc which any serious investor cannot ignore and countries or regions with keener interests to foster trading in goods and services cannot overlook.

For the EAC, the TIFA provides opportunities to develop and expand commodities and services trade in the United States market, especially trade under the AGOA initiative. It would further encourage the EAC region to work towards favorable conditions for long-term investment.

To operationalise Trade and Investment relations provided under the TIFA, the Agreement provides for establishment of an EAC – USA Council on Trade and Investment comprising high ranking representatives of the contracting Parties Governments'. The Council will be co-chaired by the United States Trade Representative on one hand and the Chairperson of the EAC Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment, on the other hand. The EAC – USA Council on Trade and Investment shall:-

monitor trade and investment relations between the EAC and the United States, identify opportunities for expanding trade and investment, and identify relevant issues, such as those related to the protection of intellectual property rights, workers rights, and the environment, that may be appropriate for negotiation in an appropriate forum;

consider specific trade and investment matters of interest to the Parties;

identify and work to remove impediments to traders and investment between the United States and the EAC and its Partner States; and

seek the advice of the private sector and civil society, where appropriate, on matters related to the Council's work.

The areas of cooperation that will feature during the talks, to be held at Kampala's Imperial Royale Hotel, include:-

Improvement of market access and removal of trade and investment barriers between the EAC Partner States and the United States;

Coordination and consultation on AGOA implementation;

Improvement of technical regulations and standards;

Strengthening agricultural trade and agribusiness linkages;

Promotion and protection of intellectual property rights;

Coordination and consultation on issues and positions in multilateral trade negotiations, including in the World Trade Organization;

Development and strengthening the financial sector and improving access to trade finance;

Encouraging improvements in trade-related infrastructure, including transportation and energy; and

Encouraging commercial and academic exchange programs.

At the end of the talks, both parties will have given sufficient policy guidance to enable their officials implement the TIFA work-plans which shall be mutually agreed.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of the Comesa region's bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • 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.