The White House announced Tuesday that the United States has entered an agreement to boost trade and investment with the Economic Community of West African States.
“Africa is an increasingly critical trading partner for the United States, and the signing of this Trade and Investment Framework agreement with the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States is emblematic of our commitment to strengthening the economic bonds that connect America and the African community,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman in a statement.
The U.S.-ECOWAS TIFA is expected to play a role in advancing President Obama’s strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa, which calls for enhanced and focused engagement on trade and investment between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Total United States-ECOWAS trade, including both exports and imports, was valued at $23.3 billion in 2013, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
U.S. exports to ECOWAS countries were valued at $9.9 billion in 2013. The top export categories were mineral fuel ($3 billion), motor vehicles and parts ($2.1 billion), machinery and parts ($1.2 billion), and wheat ($977 million).
U.S. imports from ECOWAS countries were valued at $13.4 billion in 2013. Major import categories were mineral fuel and oil (crude oil) ($11.8 billion), cocoa and cocoa preparations ($1 billion), rubber and rubber products ($206 million), aluminum and titanium ores ($113.1 million), and edible fruits and nuts ($36.4 million).
“Of this trade, ECOWAS’ exports to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, including its Generalized System of Preferences provisions, totaled $11 billion — up significantly from $5.73 billion in 2001 (the first full year of AGOA trade) — and included significant growth in non-oil products such as cocoa powder, cocoa paste, apparel, fruits, nuts, beans, yams, cassava, baskets and spices,” USTR said.