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By Tiffany Enoch, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
On Wednesday, October 24th, Ambassadors Kirk and Marantis hosted the biannual Trade Advisory Committee on Africa (TACA) meeting in Washington, D.C. Ambassador Kirk reflected on the work of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) over the last year, touching on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), USTR’s completion of the trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama, and President Obama’s creation of the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC).
Members of the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa (TACA) meet at USTR.
Ambassador Kirk also focused on the maturing trade relationships between the U.S. and many African countries. He touched on the newly negotiated Trade Investment Framework Agreements (TIFAs) with Angola and South Africa, which led to significant improvements in U.S. relations with both of these countries. He also mentioned his 2011 trip to Zambia for the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, where he announced the African Competitiveness and Trade Expansion Initiative (ACTE) to build trade capacity in Africa. Ambassador Kirk described how the Obama Administration, alongside stakeholders, secured the renewal of AGOA’s Third Country Fabric Provision, which supports jobs in Africa and in the U.S. He lauded the President for launching a youth leadership initiative to help engage Africa’s future leaders, and for starting the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program to help empower Africa’s women. Ambassador Kirk closed by discussing the President’s new “U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa,” which will serve as a blueprint for our strategic engagement with the region.
Ambassador Kirk briefs TACA members on trade developments in Africa.
Following Ambassador Kirk remarks, Ambassador Marantis briefed TACA members on his recent visit to East Africa to advance the U.S. – East African Community (EAC) Trade and Investment Partnership. The EAC partnership seeks to enhance regional integration and trade relationships among the five EAC partner states (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda). During his trip, Ambassador Marantis met with senior officials, visited exporters who benefitted from AGOA, and met with local members of the American Chamber of Commerce. In addition to reporting on his trip, Ambassador Marantis discussed the long-term future of AGOA.