EAC Partner States and USA discuss Trade and Investment Initiative
ARUSHA, Tanzania, November 7, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The East African Community Partner States and the United States of America today held discussions on Trade and Investment Initiative at the East African Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.
The meeting between the EAC Partner States and the USA was convened to exchange views on the proposed US – EAC Trade and Investment Initiative which had been submitted by the United States Trade Representative in June 2011, during the forum of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) held in Lusaka, Zambia.
Leading the US delegation to the talks was Ms Florizelle Liser, the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, who was accompanied by representatives from a number of U.S. Government Agencies including the Departments of State, Commerce, and Agriculture and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The U.S. Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E Alfonso E. Lenhardt, who also serves as the US Ambassador to the EAC bloc attended the meeting.
Mr. Simon Chacha Nyangi, Trade Secretary in the Ministry of Trade in the Republic Kenya led the EAC delegation and was accompanied by representatives of the five Partner States. The EAC Secretariat was represented by the Secretary General, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera and the Director General of Directorate of Customs and Trade, Mr. Peter Kiguta.
The Assistant United States Trade Representative for Africa, Ms Florizelle B. Liser made a presentation on the new trade and investment partnership which is one of the pillars of the US-EAC Regional Integration Initiative. The initiative has 5 pillars which include: developing a new trade and investment partnership; investing in infrastructure; strengthening governance; promoting financial integration; and lastly improving food security.
The Proposed Trade and Investment partnership dubbed Partnership with Africa and Investment Agreement (PATIA) has four components namely; a regional investment treaty; trade agreements and commitments on specific non-tariff barrier areas; targeted trade capacity building assistance to address challenges in selected sectors; and a commercial dialogue between the US and EAC private sectors.
The EAC and US delegations in day-long discussions reviewed in detail the various elements of the proposed Trade and Investment Initiative. They discussed a potential regional investment treaty; trade enhancing agreements including trade facilitation, standards, SPS, transparency, labor and environment.
Several other areas of the proposed initiative discussed included a commercial dialogue between the US and EAC private sectors; and targeted trade capacity building assistance to address challenges in selected areas.
After fruitful discussion, the two sides agreed to continue information sharing and providing relevant documents to each other.
Both sides indicated that the proposed US-EAC Trade and Investment Initiative is a priority. They agreed to continue their respective internal consultations in order to advance the initiative forward.
East African Community (EAC)