Libya Herald | 18 December 2013
US-Libyan Trade and Investment Council agreed
By Ahmed Elumami, Tripoli
Libya and the US are to set up a trade and investment council to regulate commercial issues between the two countries. An agreement to establish the body was formally signed today by the Minister of Economy, Mustafa Abofanas, and US Ambassador Deborah Jones acting on behalf of the US Trade Representative Michael Froman.
The Trade Representative is responsible for developing and recommending United States trade policy.
The American-Libyan Council for Trade and Investment, signed into force today by the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), will work to regulate all commercial matters between Libya and the US. This will include a wide range of trade and investment issues such as market access, intellectual property rights, and labour and enviromental issues.
It will also help in growing commercial and investment opportunities by identifying and working to remove impediments to trade and investment flows between the United States and Libya.
Abofanas said that this agreement looked envisaged the development of relations with the United States, and that the underlying concept behind this was mutual respect between the two countries.
Libya’s strategic location would attracting the attention of foreign investors, Abofanas added, and the government supported foreign investment, especially that Libya was now in the period of reconstruction.
The American ambassador said that it was a great pleasure for her to confirm the strong partnership and shared principles that bound the American and Libyan peoples.
The TIFA was an important step in Libya’s economic growth, she noted, as well as a sign to the international community that Libya is opening for business.
The agreement has been welcomed by the US-Libya Business Association. It was, USBLA said, “the beginning of a process of close consultation and dialogue, which will address a myriad of technical issues to advance the bilateral trade and investment relationship”. The agreement would also assist Libya in its objectives to more fully integrate into the rules-based global trading system.
“We look forward to the swift organisation of the first meeting of the (American-Libyan) Council, and we hope to soon see the signing of a US-Libya Investment Incentive Agreement (IIA) which would allow the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to open for business in Libya”, said USLBA Executive Director Chuck Dittrich. “This agreement would allow for US-backed investment insurance, loans and guarantees to US investors in Libya, and allow for other opportunities such as opening Libya more fully to US franchising opportunities by emerging Libyan entrepreneurs.”