Yesterday, the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa (TACA) met with Ambassador Kirk to discuss trade policy and initiatives in Africa. This is the first TACA meeting of the year and was held in advance of the 2012 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum hosted by the U.S. in mid-June.
The Ambassador began the meeting by noting progress on the passing and implementation of the three free trade agreements (FTAs) with Korea, Colombia, and Panama. In addition, Ambassador Kirk highlighted the development of the President Obama’s new Presidential Policy Directive for Africa, which will allow for broader Africa engagement. He also pointed to the possibility of using Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) to accelerate growth between the U.S. and African countries, one of which is being negotiated with Mauritius.
As Ambassador Kirk also pointed out during the TACA meeting, renewing AGOA's Third Country Fabric Provision before its expiration on September 30, 2012 remains a top administration priority. TACA members also emphasized the importance of renewing the Third Country Fabrics provision, referencing its importance as a bipartisan issue that should not be allowed to lapse. Other members commented on the importance of issues such as agribusiness and infrastructure development as well.
The discussion also focused on the President’s National Export Initiative, suggesting that increasing trade with Africa could help meet the President’s goals to double exports by the end of 2014. To promote growth in Africa, the advisors suggested including additional government agencies, the private sector, and building relationships with more government officials in Africa.
Ambassador Kirk concluded the meeting with a positive outlook on Africa’s trade and growth potential: "Africa has enormous resources— and somewhere between petroleum and textiles is great opportunity to do much more."
Ambassador Kirk Participates in TACA Meeting
TACA provides the U.S. Trade Representative with policy advice on issues involving trade and development in sub-Saharan Africa. AGOA is the cornerstone of America’s trade and investment policy with sub-Saharan Africa. AGOA’s performance and effectiveness are closely tied to its Third-Country Fabric (TCF) provision, which is set to expire in September 2012. Swift passage of legislation extending AGOA’s TCF provision is necessary to ensure AGOA’s continued success – and the stability, development, and economic growth of sub-Saharan African countries. Congress has extended the TCF provision twice with bipartisan support.