THE United States Government on Wednesday signed an agreement with the East African Community that will see the US strengthen and increase their trade relations with the economic bloc.
Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on behalf of the US while EAC Director-General for Customs and Trade Peter Kiguta signed on behalf of the EAC.
Trade ministers and other senior officials from EAC member states Burundi , Kenya , Rwanda , Tanzania and Uganda witnessed signing ceremony.
“The EAC is one of the leading regional economic organizations in sub-Saharan Africa ,” said Ambassador Schwab.
“It is making significant progress in opening up regional trade and advancing economic integration among its members.
We see the TIFA as a major step toward deepening the U.S.-EAC trade and investment relationship, expanding and diversifying bilateral trade, and improving the climate for business between U.S. and East African firms.”
The U.S.-EAC TIFA will establish regular, high-level talks on the full spectrum of U.S.-EAC trade and investment topics, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round, trade facilitation issues, and trade capacity building assistance.
Bilateral trade between the United States and the EAC region exceeded $1.2 billion in 2007. U.S. imports from EAC members under AGOA and the Generalized System of Preferences totaled $265 million in 2007.
All five member states of the EAC are eligible for trade benefits under AGOA.