Background

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will convene a public hearing Jan. 28, 2016, and accept public comment through Jan. 19 to assist in the preparation of a report to Congress on policy levers for deepening the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship.

USTR states that many developments since the African Growth and Opportunity Act was enacted in 2000 – including a significant increase in the number of trade agreements signed with third parties by both the U.S. and sub-Saharan African countries as well as reductions in preference programs by other developed countries – signal the importance for the U.S. to assess many policies and approaches, including those beyond preferences, to deepen its trade and investment relationship with sub-Saharan Africa. Congress also signaled an interest in exploring such policies and approaches in the trade promotion authority law enacted this year, which required USTR to submit certain information about the prospect for free trade agreements with sub-Saharan African countries.

Written comments and/or oral testimony at the hearing are therefore being sought on the following issues: (a) why a deeper trade and investment relationship is critical for both African growth and U.S. interests; (b) which trade and investment policy areas should serve as building blocks to deepen this relationship; (c) what goals the U.S. and its African partners should establish with respect to each building block; and (d) what mechanisms and approaches could be used to best achieve these goals.

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