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U.S. Ambassador to the WTO Michael Punke to Travel to Accra, Ghana as African Union Trade Ministers Meet December 2-3, 2011

Washington, D.C. – This week, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Michael Punke will travel to Accra, Ghana, to participate as a guest at the Seventh Ordinary Session of the African Union Trade Ministers’ Conference. African ministers will meet to coordinate policy positions, develop strategies, and consider initiatives aimed at boosting intra-African trade and integrating Africa into the global economy in preparation for a January 2012 meeting of African leaders. The United States was invited by the African Union Commission as a key collaborating partner in efforts to develop African trade and sustain the important integration processes occurring in the region.

“The United States is committed to our partnership with Africa to foster economic growth through increased trade and investment,” said Ambassador Punke. “I look forward to joining African ministers and contributing to the deliberations at the Conference on trade’s important role in Africa’s economic growth and development. We will discuss ways that the U.S. government and American businesses can collaborate with African nations and entrepreneurs to maximize the benefits of the many U.S. initiatives already in place, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and trade-related technical assistance efforts. The meeting in Ghana is an important opportunity to engage directly with our African partners and work together to advance the successful integration of African nations into the global trading system. I also look forward to talking with Ministers about how best to use the WTO’s upcoming Ministerial Conference to find better ways to deliver results that promote growth and development.”

While in Ghana, Ambassador Punke will offer remarks to the assembled Ministers during the conference and meet individually with key African trade ministers to discuss issues – including those that will be discussed at the upcoming WTO Ministerial. He will also visit the West Africa Trade Hub to discuss the ways the United States partners with African countries in the region, and with African entrepreneurs to ensure that they take advantage of the market access provided by AGOA.