Washington, D.C. – Deputy United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis today hosted trade talks with a Rwandan delegation led by Minister of Trade and Industry François Kanimba. The talks were held under the U.S.-Rwanda Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which provides a high-level forum for advancing a cooperative partnership on bilateral trade and investment issues. During his opening remarks, Ambassador Marantis commended Rwanda for improvements in its business climate, expanded two-way trade with the United States, and progress in regional economic integration within the East African Community (EAC).
“Rwanda is one of America’s key partners in sub-Saharan Africa," said Ambassador Marantis. “The United States and Rwanda have a strong bilateral trade and investment relationship, anchored by a newly approved bilateral investment treaty, and growing two-way trade. We look forward to even greater trade and investment ties with Rwanda and its regional partners under the proposed United States-East African Community Trade and Investment Initiative.”
Total two-way goods trade between Rwanda and the United States totaled $51 million in 2010. U.S. exports to Rwanda were $29.5 million and imports from Rwanda totaled $21.5 million. Top U.S. exports in 2010 were vaccines, medical devices, and electronics. Coffee comprised over 85 percent of U.S. imports from Rwanda in 2010. Other leading imports from Rwanda were tungsten, pyrethrum (a natural insecticide), and baskets.
Today’s TIFA Council meeting examined the two governments’ joint work on a number of trade-related issues, including implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), agricultural trade and cooperation, export diversification, infrastructure issues, and Rwanda’s progress towards regional integration within the EAC. In addition to high level officials from Rwanda, U.S. officials from a range of agencies including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Labor, State, and Transportation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Copyright Office also participated in the meeting.
Following the government-to-government TIFA Council consultations, the Rwandan delegation will meet with representatives of the U.S. private sector and participate in a U.S.-Rwanda Bilateral Investment Treaty Ceremony with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk before departing Washington, D.C.
The United States and Rwanda signed the TIFA and established the TIFA Council in June 2006. Since then, four high-level meetings have been held under the TIFA, including the meeting that took place today.
# # #