Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Underlines the Importance of AGOA

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Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Girma Birru, has welcomed the decision of the US Department of Commerce to organize a “Business Development Conference and Trade Mission” to 8 African countries in September 2015″.

He said the Trade Mission would offer a unique opportunity to explore, first-hand, the vast business and investment opportunities that exist in Africa in the various areas. Ambassador Girma noted the recent economic performance of the East African region has been remarkable by international standards.

The region is one of the fastest growing regions in the continent, with average GDP growth of 5% in 2013-2014, compared to the sluggish global economic performance of 2.4% during the same period and cited Ethiopia as the third growing success economy in the world. Ambassador Girma was speaking at “Doing Business in East Africa,” an occasion organized by the Embassies of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania in collaboration with the US Commerce Department, as an opportunity to exchange information and network with US trade officials and members of the African diplomatic community. Ambassador Girma also referred to the importance of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which he said has served as the cornerstone of U.S.-Africa commercial relations. AGOA is due to expire at the end of September, 2015 and it is important that it is reauthorized by Congress. African governments and the private sector are concerned about the delay in reauthorization of AGOA which could result in unnecessary disruptions in commercial transactions. He called for action to ensure uninterrupted continuation of AGOA and said “I would like to take this opportunity to express our continued commitment to collaborate with the U.S. Government and the private sector to make the September Trade Mission to Africa a success, thereby contributing to the strengthening of our economic ties.”

The occasion was attended by the Ambassadors of Kenya and Tanzania to the US, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for US Operations and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as the Chairman of the Virginia-Washington DC, District Export Council, and representatives of the Corporate Council on Africa and businesses.

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