East Africa: Technical officials discuss EAC-US trade and investment partnership in Bujumbura

East Africa: Technical officials discuss EAC-US trade and investment partnership in Bujumbura
Bujumbura, Burundi
Published date:
Monday, 17 February 2014
Author:
Owora Richard Othieno

Technical Officials from the East African Community (EAC) and the United States (U.S.) met 12 to 15 February 2014 in Bujumbura, Burundi to discuss Trade Africa and the EAC - U.S. Trade and Investment Partnership (TIP). In particular, the Technical Officials discussed among others, the Ministerial guidance provided in August 2013; AGOA; Regional Investment Treaty; Trade Facilitation; Trade Capacity Building, and Commercial Dialogue.

Both Parties reviewed a summary of the last EAC - U.S. Trade Ministerial Meeting held on the sidelines of the August 2013 AGOA Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Both Parties also discussed the need to make substantial progress on all areas of Trade Africa and the Trade and Investment Partnership in advance of the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on August 5 and 6, 2014.

The US and EAC teams agreed to work as expeditiously as possible to create concrete actions and outcomes in all areas under discussion by the time of the Leaders' Summit.

Both Parties also discussed the Obama Administration's review of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in advance of its scheduled expiration in September 2015. The U.S. underscored the Obama Administration's commitment to a seamless renewal of AGOA and described the process by which the U.S. Congress would have to develop and pass legislation in order for AGOA to be re-authorized.

The U.S. noted the review offers an opportunity to assess the future of the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship from a broad and holistic perspective, to include an assessment of mechanisms to make AGOA trade preferences more effective and identification of complementary, non-tariff focused efforts to support Africa's integration into the global trading system.

The U.S. also noted the economic conditions in Africa are today substantially different from when AGOA was enacted in 2000. Africa's evolving trading regimes with other global partners is also being considered as part of the U.S. AGOA review.

Both Parties also discussed the African countries' recommendations for AGOA renewal that was presented during the 2013 AGOA Forum in Addis Ababa, and the U.S. affirmed these African views are being considered as part of the Administration's comprehensive review. The U.S. and EAC also discussed strategies to increase the volume and number of products exported from EAC Partner States to the U.S. as well as to increase the presence and competitiveness of U.S. businesses in the EAC.

Both Parties continued exploratory discussions on a proposed Regional Investment Treaty, discussed the approach on Trade Facilitation, SPS and TBT, and agreed on a plan for the next steps to be undertaken in March and April 2014.

On Trade Capacity Building, the USAID presented a summary of their current program under the new USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, highlighting four areas of activity: deepening regional integration through support to the EAC Secretariat; promoting regional food security through improved markets and market information; reducing the time and cost of trade across the region; and increasing exports under AGOA through increased linkages between U.S. and African businesses and trade associations.

Both Parties also discussed the recent and planned private sector engagement under the EAC-U.S. Commercial Dialogue.

The EAC noted the need for national and sectoral level private sector engagement under the Commercial Dialogue and the U.S. noted its regionally based Commercial Counselor plans upcoming travels to the EAC Partner States to discuss ways to deepen EAC and U.S. private sector cooperation.

 

Owora Richard Othieno, Head of Department; Corporate Communications and Public Affairs;

Tel: +255 784 835021; Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department;  EAC Secretariat Arusha, Tanzania

http://www.eac.int

Share this article

View related news articles

Biden’s Africa strategy seeks to revitalize ties with the continent

President Biden is delivering on his commitment to make Africa a priority for the United States. Most notable is his administration’s sharp uptick in U.S. diplomacy toward the region. With visits to Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal last November, Morocco and Algeria in March, and South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has visited the continent three times in just 10...

25 August 2022

EAC States challenged on trade agreements

The East African Community (EAC) partner states have been challenged to increase their volume of transactions under regional and international trade agreements. The region’s private sector trade block, East Africa Business Council, said it is imperative for the region to take advantage of opportunities such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Economic partnership agreement, to...

23 August 2022

US revamps Africa strategy as it sounds alarm on China, Russia

The US unveiled a new strategy to forge closer relations with Sub-Saharan Africa, while contending that China and Russia were motivated by narrow self-interests in their attempts to strengthen ties with the region. With one of the world’s fastest-growing populations, largest free-trade areas by geographical area and most diverse set of ecosystems, Africa has a critical role to play in addressing the world’s defining challenges, the White...

10 August 2022

The US is revisiting its trade relations with African countries: key issues on the table

Last year, the US’s Biden administration announced plans to increase two-way trade and investment between the US and Africa. The starting point was a revamp of the Trump-era “Prosper Africa initiative”. What sort of trade arrangement is the US proposing? In July 2021, the Biden-Harris administration launched the Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign. The idea was to elevate and energise the US’s commitment to trade and investment...

05 August 2022

US President Biden announces US-Africa summit for mid-December 2022

President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that the United States will bring together leaders from across the African continent for a major summit in December in Washington to discuss pressing challenges from food security to climate change. "The summit will demonstrate the United States’ enduring commitment to Africa, and will underscore the importance of U.S.-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities," Biden...

21 July 2022

Biden Administration signalling possible resumption of trade talks with Kenya?

The Biden administration has given an indication of a possible resumption of trade talks between the US and Kenya. The two nations commenced negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) in July 2020, with a view of drafting a comprehensive agreement that would act as a model for similar pacts between the US and other African countries. But discussions around the agreement died down after Biden took over from his predecessor Donald Trump in...

08 March 2022

US-Africa trade policy faces future uncertainties

US trade policy toward Africa is facing a conundrum. Much has changed in the two decades since the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) set the framework for trade between the world's largest economy and its poorest continent. Many observers advocate new policies to increase U.S.-Africa trade and investment, especially with Agoa expiring in 2025. Yet the policy path is less clear than when Agoa became law, and the prospects for a...

21 September 2021

Biden eyes up Africa as new trade market, reboots Trump-era initiative

The Joe Biden administration has announced plans to revamp the Trump-era Prosper Africa initiative, as it works to “substantially increase” two-way trade and investment between the US and Africa. With a focus on infrastructure, clean energy and healthcare, the White House said in recent weeks that it would kickstart a new Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign, having also requested US$80m from Congress in additional funding...

01 September 2021

'Rich countries want to strike trade deals in Africa'

“We will be the guinea pig,” said Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s president, before trade talks with America opened last year. A deal would make Kenya only the second African country after Morocco to sign a free-trade agreement with the United States. Officials in the Trump administration called the proposed deal “a model” for future ones. But such bilateral talks jar with Africa’s push for regional integration and with President Joe...

21 August 2021

US trade chief plans summit to discuss Africa duty-free access

The U.S.’s trade chief plans to convene a meeting with African ministers before the end of the year to strengthen partnerships and discuss a law that provides duty-free access to the U.S. for thousands of goods from sub-Saharan nations. “It is important that we meet despite the pandemic to discuss how we can build on the successes of the African Growth and Opportunity Act,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in remarks...

27 July 2021

Biden’s fast-track Trade Authority (TPA) is set to expire this week

President Joe Biden is about to lose one of his main tools for getting trade agreements passed in Congress, dimming the outlook for deals already in the works with the U.K. and Kenya [See trade data below this article]. Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA, fast-track negotiating ability delegated to the U.S. president by Congress, is set to expire on Thursday. [See a FAQ guide here] That power, which was granted under the Trade Act of 1974,...

29 June 2021