United States-Africa trade resources
The United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) Office of African Affairs develops and coordinates U.S. trade and investment policy for the 49 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. It leads the negotiation and implementation of U.S. trade and investment policies and objectives in the region. The Administration seeks both to expand markets for U.S. goods and services in sub-Saharan Africa and to facilitate efforts to bolster African economic development through increased global, regional, and bilateral trade. Sub-Saharan Africa presents many opportunities for U.S. businesses as an emerging market for American exports. Many of the fastest growing economies in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The office oversees implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a trade preference program enacted in 2000 that has been at the center of U.S.-African engagement on trade and investment. By providing duty-free entry into the United States for almost all African products, AGOA has helped expand and diversify African exports to the United States, while at the same time fostering an improved business environment in many African countries through the application of eligibility requirements. In 2015, the U.S. Congress extended AGOA through 2025. The Africa Office works closely with other U.S. agencies that support capacity building to increase utilization of the AGOA program. More information on the AGOA program can be found on AGOA.info
On July 16, 2008, the United States and the East African Community (EAC) signed a US-EAC Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in Washington, DC. The purpose of the TIFA is to strengthen the US-EAC trade and investment relationship, expand and diversify bilateral trade, and improve the climate for business between US and East African firms. This was followed on 25 February 2015 with the signing of a Cooperation Agreement that will increase trade-related capacity in the region and deepen the economic ties between the United States and the EAC. The Cooperation Agreement will build capacity in three key areas: Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs).
SACU-US Trade, Investment and Development Cooperation Agreement (TIDCA)
The SACU and the United States of America (US) concluded a Cooperative Agreement to promote investment and expand and diversify trade on 16 July 2008. A Consultative Group on Trade and Investment was established with the aims of, inter alia, endeavouring to conclude mutually beneficial trade- and investment-enhancing agreements; monitoring trade and investment relations between SACU and the US and identifying opportunities for expanding trade and investment; identifying and working to remove impediments to trade and investment between SACU and the US; considering trade capacity building assistance and/or cooperation; and promoting increased contact between the private sectors in SACU and the United States to facilitate the expansion of trade and investment.
US-COMESA Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
The United States and COMESA signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on 29 October 2001. The Agreement is aimed at developing and expanding trade in products and services; promoting the adoption of appropriate measures to encourage and facilitate trade in goods and services; and securing favourable conditions for long-term investment, development and diversification of trade. A Council on Trade and Investment was established to consult on specific trade- and investment-related issues of special interest to the Parties.
US-Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) TIFA
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) concluded a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States Government on 5 August 2014 with the objective of promoting an attractive investment climate and to expand and diversify trade in products and services between the Parties.
The Agreement establishes a United States-ECOWAS Council on Trade and Investment comprising representatives of each Party. The role of the Council is, among other things, to review and discuss trade and investment relations between the Parties, identify opportunities for expanding trade and investment, and identify relevant issues, such as, but not limited to, those related to strengthening the rule of law and promoting transparent and corruption-free public institutions, to the protection of intellectual property rights and the environment, and to the protection of worker rights and other tabor matters, that may be appropriate for negotiation in an appropriate forum. The Council will also be responsible for identifying and working to remove impediments to trade and investment between the United States and the ECOWAS Member States.
US-West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) TIFA
The Government of the United States of America and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) have concluded an agreement Concerning the Development of Trade and Investment Relations (also referred to as a ’Trade and Investment Framework Agreement’). The Agreement takes into account the desire of all Parties to expand trade between them in products and services, and undertake to adopt appropriate measures to encourage and facilitate trade in goods and services, and to secure favourable conditions for long-term investment, development, and diversification of trade among their respective nationals and companies.
United States-Kenya negotiations
On 6 February 2020, (now former) President of the U.S. Donald Trump announced the U.S.’s intention to initiate bilateral negotiations for an FTA in order to proceed and extend the trade relationship both countries enjoy under the AGOA. The target of the U.S – Kenya FTA was to allow continued duty- and quota-free access for Kenyan goods into the U.S., and increase predictability in trading with the U.S., thus modelling for the rest of the Sub-Saharan African countries.
Bilateral negotiations consequently commenced on 7 July 2020. However, negotiations were halted due to the American presidential elections that saw President Biden being sworn in as U.S. President in January 2021. As a result, a period of uncertainty commenced over continuation of trade negotiation due to President Biden’s pursuit of reversal of policies that had been undertaken by the Trump administration.
The United States and Kenya launched the U.S.-Kenya STIP on 14 July 2022. The goal of the Partnership is to increase investment; promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth; benefit workers, consumers, and businesses (including micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises); and support African regional economic integration.
The joint statement identified a set of initial issues on which the United States and Kenya share the goal of negotiating high-standard commitments in order to achieve economically meaningful outcomes. This initial set of issues included the following:
(1) agriculture, (2) anti-corruption, (3) digital trade, (4) environment and climate action, (5) good regulatory practices, (6) micro, small, and medium size enterprises, (7) protecting worker’s rights and protections, (8) supporting the participation of women, youth, and others in trade, (9) standards collaboration, (10) trade facilitation and customs procedures, and (11) services domestic regulation.