Continuing efforts to establish strong bi-lateral trade relations, the U.S.-Angola Council on Trade and Investment (TIFA) met in Washington, D.C. last week.
Discussions between the two nations were wide-ranging, focusing on opportunities for further collaboration and the elimination of gratuitous barriers to trade. Among the topics covered were “trade and investment relationship, small and medium-sized enterprises, utilization of AGOA, protection of intellectual property rights, agri-business prospects and development, and improving bilateral investment opportunities,” according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) website. USTR Ambassador Michael Froman and Angolan Minister of Trade Dr. Rosa Escorio Pacavira de Matos jointly led the talks.
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa Florie Liser said, “Angola is one of our most important partners in sub-Saharan Africa. American exports to Angola are a strong example of how the Obama Administration is emphasizing trade as a key way to unlock economic opportunity, strengthen the middle class, and benefit our partners abroad. We charted a path forward that will strengthen our economic engagement and create jobs for Americans and Angolans alike.”
Many experts view Angola as an important, emerging trading partner for the U.S. in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2013, the trade between the two nations totaled $10.2 billion in value. U.S. exports to Angola in 2013 were valued at $1.5 billion and its imports at $8.7 billion.
President Obama has made the expansion of U.S. commerce with Africa a central pillar of his trade strategy. He said, “I see Africa as the world’s next major economic success story, and the United States wants to be a partner in that success. The entire GDP of sub-Saharan Africa is still less than $2 trillion, which is about the same as Italy. Our entire trade with Africa is about the same as our trade with Brazil or South Korea, countries with a fraction of Africa’s population. Of all our exports to the world, only about 2 percent goes to Africa.” Apparel and textile imports from sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S. amounted to approximately $881 million in 2013. Overall, the U.S. imports around $50 billion from sub-Saharan Africa, most of which is oil and minerals.
The U.S and Angola first signed the TIFA in 2009. According to the USTR, the purpose of the TIFA Council is to function as a “mechanism for regular, high-level dialogue on enhancing U.S.-Angolan trade and investment ties and improving coordination between the United States and Angola on multilateral and bilateral trade and investment issues.” The last TIFA meeting occurred in June 2010 in Luanda, Angola.