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East Africa: US, EAC pursue new trade partnership

Rwanda Express (Kigali) | 22 June 2012

East Africa: US, EAC pursue new trade partnership

The United States and East African community have agreed on a new partnership that will 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 partnership was sealed 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.

The meeting was attended by United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk; the Honorable Richard Sezibera, the Secretary General of the East African Community; and ministers of trade, commerce and industry from the EAC member states.

The partnership will build on the foundations the already existing trade and investment relationship, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and the U.S.-EAC Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

The initial items to be explored under this new umbrella partnership will include: a regional investment treaty, a trade facilitation agreement, continued trade capacity building assistance, and a commercial dialogue.

This 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.

The participating ministers agreed to direct 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.

They said that through these agreements and other activities there is full confidence that together, they can build a stronger U.S.-EAC trade and investment.

 source: Rwanda Express