Posted at 6:39 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 26, 2015
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews emphasized the importance the United States places on its commercial engagement with the East African Community (EAC) today at the first U.S.-EAC Commercial Dialogue, hosted by the U.S. Commerce Department. In discussions with partner states Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, Deputy Secretary Andrews highlighted some of the Commerce Department’s activities aimed at supporting U.S. and Africa businesses.
“At the Commerce Department, we remain committed to solidifying our trade relationship with Africa,” said Deputy Secretary Andrews during events today. “Today’s inaugural meeting is a perfect opportunity for the Commerce Department and the East African Community to follow-up on last year’s African Leaders Summit. I encourage our private sector partners here today to bring their ideas forward and make their voices heard.”
The Dialogue began with a business roundtable, where participants had the opportunity to address U.S. and EAC private sector priorities and suggestions for developing stronger public-private partnerships.
During the roundtable, Andrews discussed a number of Commerce initiatives to boost U.S.-Africa trade. He announced that, for the very first time, Commerce will host its Trade Winds Conference and Mission in Africa in September. He also discussed the upcoming inaugural Africa and Middle East Business Outlook Conference taking place in Dubai in May. Andrews highlighted the newly established President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA). PAC-DBIA members – who represent small, medium, and large companies from a variety of industry sectors – were selected to advise the President, through the Secretary of Commerce, on ways to strengthen commercial engagement between the United States and Africa.
Deputy Secretary Andrews also participated in a government-to-government discussion with EAC partner states about efforts to establish a stronger partnership and to agree on a plan moving forward. They also discussed details of the next Commercial Dialogue meeting.
Prior to the Commercial Dialogue, the EAC signed a Cooperation Agreement with the U.S. Trade Representative that will increase trade-related capacity in the region and deepen U.S.-EAC economic ties. The agreement marks a milestone for Trade Africa, an initiative announced by President Obama in 2013, which is aimed at supporting greater trade and investment between the continent and the United States.
For more information on Commerce Department efforts to support U.S.-Africa business ties, visit http://trade.gov/dbia/.