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U.S. trying to beat China in Africa

Staff writer ▼ | February 27, 2015
The U.S. completed a deal that commits five African countries to reducing trade barriers in a plan that also provides them with technical assistance to export mostly African agricultural products to American consumers.
U.S. Africa
Agreement   U.S. moves toward greater trade with Africa
The U.S. is tryying catch up with China which surpassed the U.S. as Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009, and the European Union, which has already signed free-trade agreements with 33 African countries. Trade in goods among the five bloc countries and the U.S. totaled $2.8 billion in 2014, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Exports from the bloc to the U.S. have primarily consisted of apparel, while the top U.S. exports to the bloc include aircraft and heavy machinery. U.S. imports from the bloc totaled $743 million in 2014, while U.S. exports to the countries amounted to $2 billion.

The U.S. has an existing trade framework with the continent but the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which gives 40 African countries tariff-free access to the U.S. market, is set to expire in September and was chiefly created to boost development in Africa.

The new agreement commits stakeholder countries to implement customs overhauls like those laid out by the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Under the deal, the U.S. will also help the trade bloc meet the technical and sanitary standards for food exports to the U.S.

Total trade in goods has grown 103% in the past five years, 52% in 2014 alone, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.