Washington — A weeklong trip to East Africa by a senior U.S. trade official has accelerated the prospect of regional trade integration and paved the way for more U.S. trade with the region.
Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael Camuñez concluded a visit to East Africa to advance a proposed White House regional trade package with the East African Community (EAC), as well as the White House Partnership for Growth Initiative in Tanzania, the U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA) said May 22.
The proposed regional trade package with the EAC includes a regional investment treaty, a trade facilitation agreement and a commercial dialogue, among other things.
“The East African Community represents enormous long-term potential for U.S. industry, and these proposed initiatives will help significantly accelerate the process of regional integration, making the EAC one of the most important trading blocs in Africa,” Camuñez said.
In Nairobi, Kenya, Camuñez convened a trade and investment conference with the EAC private sector to identify strategic priorities as a road map for the proposed commercial dialogue under the regional trade package. The commercial dialogue would be just the fourth such dialogue the United States has established, in addition to Brazil, India and Indonesia, and the only one focused on a regional trading bloc.
Camuñez also delivered keynote remarks on the role of public-private partnerships in U.S.-Kenyan trade at a structured finance seminar hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Kenyan government's “Vision 2030.” In addition, he held bilateral meetings with Kenyan officials to address key market access concerns on intellectual property rights and transparency.
In Arusha, Tanzania, Camuñez met with the secretary-general of the EAC to further advance the regional trade package in anticipation of upcoming African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) meetings. In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Camuñez met with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete to discuss the country’s successful progress on the White House Partnership for Growth (PFG) Initiative, a White House–led development initiative.
The governments of Tanzania and the United States continue to be engaged at the highest levels, ITA said, and have worked laboriously on mapping out the details of addressing two key constraints to growth in Tanzania: an inadequate supply of power and an underdeveloped rural road network.
“Through the PFG, the United States and Tanzania continue to build ties for long-term economic engagement that will lead to clear, tangible benefits for both countries,” Camuñez said.