By JOHN SAKALA
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Christopher Yaluma, is leading a Zambian delegation in Washington DC in the United States for the 17th Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum.
The AGOA forum takes place annually on an alternating basis between sub-Saharan Africa and the U.S.
The United States is hosting the seventeenth annual US-sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, commonly known as the AGOA Forum, on July 11-12, 2018, at the US Department of State.
The annual AGOA Forum is the premier platform that brings together African Trade Ministers with US counterparts to discuss mutual co-operation aimed at enhancing trade and investment relationship through AGOA Implementation.
This year’s forum is ‘Forging new strategies for US-Africa trade and investment.’
The forum will focus on the implementation of AGOA, as well as strategies for deepening US-sub-Saharan Africa trade and investment relationships.
The AGOA Forum Ministerial Consultative Group meetings will foster discussion of best practices for increasing AGOA utilization, addressing supply-side constraints on trade and investment, and preparing for a more reciprocal trade and investment relationship.
US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are expected to deliver opening remarks at the 2018 AGOA Forum on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
As in previous years, the AGOA Forum will include a number of events on the margins of the ministerial. This year’s side events will also incorporate private sector, civil society, and African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) stakeholders.
Meanwhile, the African Union has held a ministerial consultative meeting to make recommendation to the African Ministers of Trade regarding recent developments on US Trade Policy agenda and Implications for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The ministers have also among other things recommended that emphasis should be placed on current developments on global trade and the importance of diversification of African exports and markets in order to address the supply side constraints.
They have further emphasized the importance of prioritizing the African integration agenda such as the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) as a strategic response to the global developments on trade.
In addition the ministers have also called on the US to consider establishing a Trade Hub for Central Africa to assist with sub-regional development.
This is according to a media release by First Secretary for Press and Public Relations at the Zambian Embassy in Washington DC, Cosmas Chileshe.