Nairobi, Kenya - Today United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk concluded his three-day visit to Nairobi, Kenya for the 8th Annual U.S. - sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, commonly referred to as the AGOA Forum. With AGOA, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 2000, almost everything an eligible AGOA country produces can enter the United States duty free. The AGOA Forum is the most prominent high-level dialogue between representatives of the United States and sub-Saharan Africa.
While in Nairobi for the AGOA Forum, Ambassador Kirk chaired a plenary on the "Possible Effects of Global Challenges on AGOA: Laying the Groundwork for the Next Wave of Growth and Beyond" and a roundtable for Trade Ministers on critical issues, including a way forward in the Doha Round of multilateral negotiations. He also held several bilateral meetings and participated in the launch of negotiations for a U.S. - Mauritius Bilateral Investment Treaty with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As well, Ambassador Kirk toured the Memorial Park Embassy bombing site, the official tribute site that honors the victims of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi. This was Ambassador Kirk's first time participating in the AGOA Forum and it gave him an opportunity to meet with important stakeholders regarding African trade policy, including the private sector, civil society and members of the U.S. Congress.
"I believe in the power of trade and its ability to create market access. Trade can be an avenue to encourage investment, create jobs, and help alleviate poverty in African nations," said Ambassador Kirk. "The Obama Administration sees increased trade as critical to economic growth and development of Africa. We are working together to with our AGOA partners to address the many challenges they face to integrate their economies in the global marketplace."
Before returning to Washington, D.C., Ambassador Kirk will travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Dakar, Senegal where he will continue to discuss ways to enhance the U.S.-Africa trade relationship.