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United States Department of State | 6 August 2014
West Africa: New Pact Aims to Expand Trade Between U.S., West Africa
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United States have signed a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA) aimed at expanding trade and investment between the United States and the 15 ECOWAS member states, and across the entire West African region.
U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman announced the pact’s signing August 5 during President Obama’s historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the largest event any American president has held with African heads of state and government.
This signing took place in conjunction with the White House’s announcement that major American companies have committed to invest $14 billion in Africa’s future.
"As President Obama’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit has illustrated, this is a tremendously exciting and formative time for U.S.-Africa trade relations," Froman said. "Africa is an increasingly critical trading partner for the United States, and the signing of this Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States is emblematic of our commitment to strengthening the economic bonds that connect America and the African community. Building on the launch of our campaign yesterday to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the signing of this TIFA demonstrated that the United States welcomes Africa’s rise, and looks forward to ’Investing in the Next Generation’ together as we work toward Africa’s regional integration."
The new TIFA will play an important role in advancing President Obama’s U.S. Strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa, which calls for more enhanced and focused engagement on trade and investment between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa, according to a USTR press release. The strategy recognizes that trade and investment is a critical engine for broad economic growth.
Total United States-ECOWAS trade (exports plus imports) was valued at $23.3 billion in 2013, USTR reports.
U.S. exports to ECOWAS members were valued at $9.9 billion in 2013.The leading categories were mineral fuel ($3 billion), motor vehicles and parts ($2.1 billion), machinery and parts ($1.2 billion), and wheat ($977 million).
U.S. imports from ECOWAS members were valued at $13.4 billion in 2013. The leading categories were mineral fuel and oil (crude oil) ($11.8 billion), cocoa and cocoa preparations ($1 billion), rubber and rubber products ($206 million), aluminum and titanium ores ($113.1 million), and edible fruits and nuts ($36.4 million).
Of this trade, ECOWAS’ exports to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act totaled $11.0 billion ― up substantially from $5.73 billion in 2001, the first full year of AGOA trade. Those exports included significant growth in non-oil products such as cocoa powder, cocoa paste, apparel, baskets, fruits, nuts, beans, yams, cassava and spices.