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East African community presses for long-term pact with US
30
Sep '15
The East African Community (EAC), an inter-governmental organisation comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania, is pushing for a long-term preferential trade agreement with the US to eliminate the fear of unilateral withdrawal of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) by the US government.

EAC believes the limitation of AGOA is that it is unilateral and can be withdrawn any time. This year the US extended the AGOA up to September 30, 2025, but the EAC thinks that this span of 10 years is insufficient for increasing trade volume by leaps and bounds.

Hence, the EAC recently submitted its plea to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on the modus operandi and the time to begin negotiations on the pact, according to African media reports.

The community of five members seeks a trade partnership similar to the one it shares with EU, which provides protection against undue competition. EAC also believes that it has not been able to utilise the US quota-free market under AGOA since the agreement does not match the World Trade Organization's structure for free trade agreements due to its 10-years duration of operations.

The long-term trade agreement, which EAC is pushing for will include services and foreign investment for matters concerning development, apart from those required for trade in goods.

Trade between the EAC countries and the US was worth $2.8 billion in 2014, with US exports to EAC being $2 billion, and imports from the region amounting to $743 million. (HO)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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