During this time of economic crisis, the President and I believe that trade can be an important element of the global economic recovery.
Trade with Africa is significant to the U.S. economy, and it represents major opportunities for African economies as well. There is great promise in U.S.&ndashAfrica trade relations. This is due in part to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) program.
The AGOA program allows 40 sub-Saharan African countries to export to the U.S. duty-free. Four regional trade hubs are set up through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help provide training and technical assistance to exporters, helping these exporters to take advantage of AGOA opportunities. In 2008, U.S. total imports from sub-Saharan Africa were more than quadruple the amount in 2001 – exceeding $86 billion – while U.S. total exports to sub-Saharan Africa more than doubled to $18.6 billion during this period.
This week I am in Nairobi, Kenya at the AGOA Forum, where I will talk about how trade can help solve the economic crisis. Our focus will be on how to help African countries strengthen and diversify their exports.
The President and I are committed to being a strong partner to developing countries, especially the least developed countries. When we work to strengthen our partners, we strengthen America and the world economy.
Ambassador Ron Kirk is the United States Trade Representative