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United States Holds Trade and Investment Talks with the East African Community

Kampala, Uganda - United States and East African trade and development officials met today in Kampala, Uganda to discuss implementation of the United States-East African Community (EAC) Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). The TIFA provides a forum for advancing cooperation on trade and investment issues between the United States and the five EAC member states - Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The meetings, which were co-led by Deputy United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and Ugandan Minister of State for Trade Gagawala Wambuzi, were the first held under the TIFA's bilateral Trade and Investment Council (TIFA Council), which identifies opportunities and provides a forum for addressing challenges in the U.S.-EAC trade and investment relationship. The TIFA Council included trade ministers from EAC countries, senior representatives from the EAC Secretariat, and a U.S. delegation of senior officials from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Departments of State, Agriculture, and Transportation, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The TIFA Council examined U.S. and EAC work on implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and issues related to market access, trade capacity building, the financial sector, agricultural trade, and the business environment.

"The EAC is one of the leading regional economic organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. It is making significant progress in opening up regional trade and advancing economic integration among its members," said Ambassador Marantis. "The EAC is an important partner on trade and development issues, and the United States is supporting its efforts to create a unified regional market and use trade to bolster economic development. Today's TIFA Council meeting was an important step toward deepening the U.S.-EAC trade and investment relationship, expanding and diversifying bilateral trade, and improving the climate for business between U.S. and East African firms."

The TIFA Council meeting provided the opportunity to set priorities, identify objectives, outline impediments, and chart the way forward for work under the TIFA. The TIFA Council adopted a common plan of work that the United States and the EAC will jointly undertake in order to implement the TIFA.

Background

On July 16, 2008, the United States and the EAC signed the United States-EAC TIFA in Washington, D.C. Trade ministers and other senior officials from the five EAC member states - Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda - witnessed the signing.

The U.S.-EAC TIFA establishes regular, high-level talks on the full spectrum of United States-EAC trade and investment topics, including AGOA, the World Trade Organization's Doha Round, trade facilitation issues, and trade capacity building assistance. The EAC has made great strides in recent years toward integrating the economies of its member states. It has established a free trade area and a customs union, and is working toward a common market.

Total two-way trade between the East African Community and the United States was valued at $1.4 billion in 2009, a 13.6 percent increase over 2008. The leading U.S. exports to the EAC are aircraft, machinery, vegetables, grains, and communications equipment. U.S. imports from the EAC include apparel, coffee, tea, and cashews. In 2009, U.S. imports from the EAC under AGOA, including its GSP provisions, were valued at $210.7 million, a 19.0 percent decrease over 2008.