Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk; the Honorable Richard Sezibera, the Secretary General of the East African Community; H.E. Victoire Ndikumana, the Burundian Minister of Commerce, Industry, Posts, and Tourism; H.E. Moses Wetang'ula, the Kenyan Minister for Trade; H.E. François Kanimba, the Rwandan Minister of Trade and Industry; H.E. Abdallah Kigoda, the Tanzanian Minister for Industry, Trade, and Marketing; and H.E. Amelia Kyambadde, the Ugandan Minister of Trade and Industry are pleased to release the following joint statement, following a meeting on June 14, 2012 on the sidelines of the AGOA Forum between the United States and the East African Community (EAC) Partner States, in Washington, D.C.
"Recognizing the importance of strengthening the economic links between the United States and East Africa, our governments jointly resolve to pursue a new trade and investment partnership between the United States and the East African Community. This new partnership will build on the foundations of our existing trade and investment relationship, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and the U.S.-EAC Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Under this new partnership we will work together to provide new business opportunities to U.S. and EAC firms by reducing trade barriers, improving the business environment, encouraging open investment regimes, and enhancing our two-way trade.
The initial items we have agreed to explore under this new umbrella partnership include a regional investment treaty, a trade facilitation agreement, continued trade capacity building assistance, and a commercial dialogue. These agreements and other activities that we will pursue will help to promote EAC regional integration, economic growth, and expand and diversify U.S.-EAC trade and investment. They could also serve as building blocks towards a more comprehensive trade agreement over the long term.
We, the Ministers, have therefore directed our respective technical teams led by the EAC to engage as soon as possible to begin consultations on each of the areas we have agreed upon.
We have full confidence that together, we can build a stronger U.S.-EAC trade and investment partnership for the benefit of the American and East African people."