Ambassador Froman discusses AGOA and new African initiatives with the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa

By James Hoagland, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

Ambassador Michael Froman met with members of the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa (TACA) to discuss the Administration’s trade and broader economic initiatives in the sub-Saharan African region. Members of the committee representing a wide range of business, law and development groups engaged in a broad and productive discussion with Ambassador Froman and  Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa  Florie Liser.

The discussion focused on the Ambassador’s recent trip to South Africa and Tanzania, where President Obama announced a series of new initiatives in the region, including Trade Africa, Power Africa, and a landmark summit of African leaders to be held in the US next year. Trade Africa aims to double-intra regional trade among the members of the East African Community (EAC) and increase exports to the United States by 40%, and Power Africa has identified 20 priority projects around the continent to expand power infrastructure through a combination of public and private investment. During his meeting, Ambassador Froman received advice and counsel from TACA members on these new initiatives and how to best implement and promote them in Africa and the United States.

Ambassador Froman also discussed the process to review the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) ahead of its renewal, which he plans to discuss at the upcoming AGOA Forum, to be held August 12-13 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Ambassador spoke with the committee about the future of AGOA and how it might be extended and improved to continue the opening of Africa’s markets, increase African regional and global trade, and expand and diversify U.S.-Africa two-way trade and investment. In 2012, U.S. goods imports from sub-Saharan African under AGOA and the related GSP program totaled $34.9 billion, more than four times the amount in 2001.  Africa’s economic rise and engagement with global trading partners  are some of the elements to be examined as part of AGOA’s review and extension beyond 2015.

The TACA is one of several committees which make up the Trade Advisory Committee System of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). TACA, originally established in 1995, is made up of members representing key sectors and groups with an interest in trade and development in sub-Saharan Africa. USTR's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs & Engagement (IAPE) manages advisory committees for USTR to ensure that trade policy and objectives reflect U.S. public and private sector interests.