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United States, Libya Hold First Meeting to discuss Trade and Investment Framework Agreement

Tripoli, Libya – U.S. and Libyan officials met in Tripoli on December 12-13, to discuss implementation of the United States-Libya Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). The consultations represented the first in-depth discussion held by the two sides under the TIFA process, which is designed to monitor trade and investment relations, identify opportunities for expanding bilateral commercial engagement, and provide a forum for addressing challenges in the two countries’ trade ties. Total two-way trade in 2009 between Libya and the United States was valued at $2.6 Billion. Libya is the United States’ 69th largest goods trade partner. Top U.S. exports to Libya include vehicles, machinery, agricultural products, medical instruments, and iron and steel products. Oil was Libya’s principal export to the United States in 2009.

The meeting was co-led by Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East Mark Mowrey and Under Secretary of the Libyan General People’s Committee on Industry, Economy and Trade Taher -Sarkaz.

“Having Libya commit to international trade rules is in the United States’ interest,” said Mowrey. “We believe continued bilateral dialogue under our TIFA will help Libya establish greater transparency and predictability in its trade and investment policies and promote the rule of law more broadly, key elements which businesses value very highly when deciding to enter a market.”

The two sides also used the meeting to begin setting priorities and mapping out future work programs under the TIFA.

Background

In May 2010, the United States and Libya signed a TIFA aimed at strengthening and expanding trade and investment ties between them. The TIFA provides a formal mechanism to address bilateral trade issues and helps enhance trade and investment relations between the United States and Libya. The TIFA encourages new trade and investment opportunities in both countries by establishing a cooperative forum for implementing specific strategies to enhance the U.S.-Libyan trade and investment relationship.

Over the last two years, Ambassador Cretz and the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli have been at the forefront of efforts to expand bilateral commercial partnerships and foster closer business ties. This month’s TIFA meeting is meant to intensify the bilateral dialogue on these issues through direct contacts between officials responsible for trade and investment policies.