June 20, 2024

Ambassador Katherine Tai Reinforces Commitment to Strengthen U.S.-Africa Trade Relations at 20th AGOA Forum

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Saturday delivered a powerful address at the closing ceremony of the 20th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, reaffirming the United States’ dedication to enhancing trade and investment ties with Africa. The event, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, gathered government officials, business leaders, civil society representatives, and trade ministers to discuss strategies for promoting economic growth, sustainability, and inclusivity.

Ambassador Tai commended the constructive and productive discussions that took place during the three-day forum. She highlighted the invaluable contributions of labor and civil society leaders and the vibrant “Made in Africa” exhibit, which showcased remarkable African handicrafts, specialty food products, and apparel. Additionally, Ambassador Tai stressed the importance of addressing trade and competition policy issues to foster a more equitable economy in Africa.

Throughout her speech, Ambassador Tai emphasized the word “commitment,” which she identified as the driving force behind the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship. She reiterated the United States’ commitment to enhancing the partnership and making the AGOA program more effective and relevant in addressing current challenges. This commitment includes exploring additional avenues for collaboration to complement AGOA.

Ambassador Tai extended her appreciation to Minister Patel and the South African government for their warm hospitality and dedication to making the Forum a success. She also thanked her fellow Trade Ministers and their delegations for their active engagement.

The Ambassador underscored the significance of AGOA as the cornerstone of the U.S. economic partnership with Africa. She highlighted the program’s tangible impact on the lives of entrepreneurs, small business owners, students, and youth across the continent, making it clear that AGOA is not an abstract concept but a practical tool for improving livelihoods.

To make AGOA even more effective, Ambassador Tai emphasized the need to adapt the program to address current challenges, such as growing inequality and the climate crisis. She also stressed the importance of improving the program’s accessibility for smaller African economies to ensure they can reap its benefits.

Furthermore, Ambassador Tai advocated for exploring additional areas of cooperation and utilizing other trade tools alongside AGOA. This includes collaborating on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and harnessing the multilateral trading system to benefit underserved communities.

Ambassador Tai expressed optimism and hope as she commended the shared commitment among participants to craft a fairer and more equitable future for Africa through trade. She highlighted the role of trade in driving inclusive economic growth, empowering workers, and providing real opportunities to all segments of society.

Ambassador Tai’s visit to the Hector Pieterson Museum, which commemorates the struggle against apartheid, served as a poignant reminder of the impact of dedication and devotion to a cause. She urged all attendees to remain devoted to the shared mission of creating a brighter future through trade, honoring the legacy of those who fought for justice and equality.

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