TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US launches trade talks with East African Community (EAC)

Monday, 07 November 2011 Published: | US Embassy Media (IIPDigital)

Source: US Embassy Media (IIPDigital)

The United States launched exploratory discussions during a November 4 meeting with the East African Community (EAC) in Arusha on a potential new trade and investment partnership.

Alfonso Lenhardt, the U.S. ambassador to Tanzania, who is also accredited as the U.S. ambassador to the EAC, opened the meeting. Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for African Affairs Florie Liser led an interagency team of representatives from the departments of State, Commerce and Agriculture, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in the daylong consultations.

“The possibility of a new trade and investment partnership between the East African Community and the United States has generated a high level of interest and excitement on both sides,” Liser said. “This excitement is largely due to the recognition that greater trade and investment between the United States and the East African Community has the potential to increase economic prosperity and create jobs in America as well as in the EAC member countries.”

The EAC members include Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Two-way goods trade between the United States and the EAC was $1.1 billion in 2010, with $632 million in U.S. exports and U.S. imports totaling $437 million.

Kenya was by far the United States’ top trading partner within the EAC, with two-way trade totaling $656 million, followed by Tanzania with $201 million, Uganda with $143 million, Rwanda with $51 million and Burundi with $17 million. Top U.S. exports to EAC countries in 2010 were machinery, aircraft and used clothing. Top imports included coffee, apparel, nuts and semiprecious stones.

The November 4 meeting followed a proposal made by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to the EAC secretariat and partner states at the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Lusaka, Zambia, earlier in 2011.

At the forum, Kirk proposed a new partnership between the United States and the EAC that would include the exploration of a regional investment treaty, creation of trade-enhancing agreements in areas such as trade facilitation, and the development of stronger commercial engagement between the United States and the EAC. During the November 4 meeting in Arusha, Liser discussed the U.S. proposal in greater detail and solicited views from the EAC.

As part of her visit to the EAC, Liser and the rest of the U.S. delegation also visited Uganda November 3 and are in Burundi on November 7 to discuss bilateral trade and investment issues.



Read more:  http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/article/2011/11/20111107160625su0.5413716.html#ixzz2XMGhSoEj

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