TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

West Africa: Rep. Bass to join US Secretary of Commerce Pritzker in visiting W Africa to promote trade

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Source: United States Congress (Washington, DC)

Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) announced today that she would join U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and 20 American companies, including two California companies, on an Energy Business Development trade mission to Nigeria. The California firms joining the mission are SolarReserve from Santa Monica and EEC from Burlingame.

Following the trade mission, Congresswoman Bass and Secretary Pritzker will travel to Ethiopia to promote the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The purpose of the trip will be to promote U.S. exports and expand U.S. companies' presence in Africa by helping American firms launch or increase their business in the energy sector and to discuss the success of AGOA and why Congress should renew it.

"The economies of African nations are growing faster than any other continent, and this trade mission is an opportunity to connect American businesses with African consumers," said Congresswoman Bass. "As California's economy continues to grow, making sure California businesses are trading on the African continent will mean more jobs and an improved economy for both Americans and those living on the African continent."

"There are tremendous opportunities for U.S. firms to sell their goods and services in the fast-growing markets of Africa," said Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. "Our trade mission is about helping U.S. companies make valuable connections in the energy sector, given the continents' vast electricity needs. Supporting U.S. firms investing in Africa is only one way the Administration is serving as a partner with the Continent. Through AGOA, we also want to help African countries sell their goods to America, which is a tool that will help them diversify their economies."

"On behalf of SolarReserve, I am delighted to join U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass in the upcoming West Africa Energy Business Development Trade Mission," commented Alistair Jessop, senior vice president of development for SolarReserve. "SolarReserve is a global developer of utility-scale solar projects and advanced solar thermal technology with more than $1.8 billion in projects presently in construction in South Africa and the U.S. The positive socioeconomic impact that these projects are imparting today and for the life of the project is significant. Both to the respective country as well as the local communities, these projects demonstrate powerful benefits that are the result of close cooperation between SolarReserve and its partners working closely with the U.S. and African governments along with private companies in each nation."

More information about AGOA

Since it was signed into law in 2000, AGOA has helped to significantly increase African exports to the United States and led to jobs both on the African continent and in the United States. Exports under AGOA for 2012 totaled $34.9 billion, more than four times the amount in 2001. According to a 2013 study by the African diplomatic core, AGOA has generated approximately 100,000 jobs in the United States and 350,000 direct jobs and 1,000,000 indirect jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

AGOA is set to expire on September 30, 2015.

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