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United States, West African Economic and Monetary Union Hold Sixth Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council Meeting

Washington, D.C. - Today representatives of the United States and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) convened the sixth meeting of the U.S.-UEMOA Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council. The two sides discussed a broad range of trade and investment-related issues, including implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, cooperation in the World Trade Organization, and issues relating to regional integration, agriculture, business climate and investment, infrastructure and trade capacity building.

The U.S. delegation was led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and included officials from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, Labor, Transportation and Energy, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. The UEMOA delegation was led by Christophe Dabire, Commissioner for Regional Integration, Trade, Competitiveness, and Cooperation. Burkina Faso Commerce Minister Kone and other senior officials from the UEMOA member states also participated in the meeting.

"The United States welcomed this opportunity to enhance our partnership with UEMOA on a broad range of trade and investment issues," said Ambassador Marantis. “Today’s meeting served to deepen our commitment to expanding trade and investment between the United States and the UEMOA region. We also identified new areas of cooperation to advance economic integration and development.”

The U.S.-UEMOA Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, which was signed in April 2002, establishes a forum for the discussion of trade and investment matters between the United States, the UEMOA Commission, and the eight member states of UEMOA: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The last TIFA meeting took place in Burkina Faso in November 2008.

BACKGROUND

Total two-way trade between the United States and the member countries of UEMOA in the first five months of 2010 was valued at $1.2 billion, up 73 percent from the corresponding period in 2009. The leading U.S. exports to the UEMOA region are motor vehicles, machinery (including electrical), aircraft, and mineral fuels. U.S. imports from UEMOA countries include oil, cocoa and cocoa products, coffee, rubber, nuts, fruits, and precious minerals. Six UEMOA countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Senegal and Togo – are eligible for benefits under AGOA.

Since FY2001, U.S. trade capacity building assistance for UEMOA member countries totaled $1.4 billion, including $476 million in FY2009. In addition, USAID's Global Competitiveness Hubs in Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal provide support for businesses in the UEMOA region seeking to take advantage of trade opportunities provided under AGOA.