Background

A new agreement signed this week aims to foster greater cooperation on trade and investment issues between the U.S. and Africa. However, neither the agreement nor the senior U.S. officials who participated in several days’ worth of high-level meetings with their African counterparts in Washington this week said much about renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which has been the foundation of the bilateral trade relationship since 2000 but is currently scheduled to expire in 2025.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the U.S. is “recasting traditional policy priorities … as avenues to strengthen U.S.-African cooperation in addressing shared global challenges” and that it sees the African Continental Free Trade Area as “critical” to these efforts. She noted that Africa is “becoming an increasingly important economic partner” to the U.S., including by increasing its competitiveness and integration into global supply chains, and that the AfCFTA will contribute to that trend by helping to drive stronger continental integration. The White House said that when it is fully implemented this agreement will create a continent-wide market of 1.3 billion people and $3.4 trillion, which would be the fifth-largest economy in the world.

Under a new memorandum of understanding between the U.S. and the AfCFTA secretariat, the two sides aim to expand the bilateral trade and investment relationship; boost the competitiveness of, and attract investment to, the African continent; promote sustainable trade and economic integration in Africa and between Africa and the U.S.; and exchange information on best practices, lessons learned, and technical matters.

To achieve this goal technical groups will be established that will meet quarterly to discuss a range of topics, which may include the following.

- advancing industrial and regional value chain development

- closer partnership between African and U.S. companies in sectors such as infrastructure, digital trade, agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, automobiles, transportation systems, and logistics services

- encouraging intra-African trade to meet the shared goals of the AfCFTA and AGOA

- promoting trade facilitation

- promoting the overall implementation of the AfCFTA, including its protocols on trade in goods and services, women and youth in trade, intellectual property, and digital trade

- facilitating private sector and civil society engagement to stimulate trade and investment and cooperation

President Biden added that the U.S. is investing billions to facilitate regional trade within Africa and build business ties between the continent and the U.S. These efforts will target infrastructure, good government, healthy populations, and reliable and affordable energy because these are the things that “business seeks out when they’re looking to invest” and will help create “the best possible environment for sustained commercial engagement between Africa companies and American companies.”

Copyright © 2024 Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.; WorldTrade Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved.

ST&R: International Trade Law & Policy

Since 1977, we have set the standard for international trade lawyers and consultants, providing comprehensive and effective customs, import and export services to clients worldwide.

View Our Services 

Close

Cookie Consent

We have updated our Privacy Policy relating to our use of cookies on our website and the sharing of information. By continuing to use our website or subscribe to our publications, you agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.