Chairman Royce Encourages President Obama to Attend Important Economic Growth and Development Forum

May 17, 2013

Washington, D.C. This week, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urged President Obama to attend the upcoming U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Economic Cooperation Forum, commonly known as the AGOA Forum, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the President’s upcoming visit to Africa.  The Forum was established by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which reduces tariffs for African nations showing a commitment to good governance and pro-growth economic policies.   

In a letter to the President, Chairman Royce encouraged the President’s attendance at the Forum, which convenes U.S. Administration officials and high-level ministers from AGOA-eligible nations to discuss trade and investment-related issues. 

In the letter, Chairman Royce wrote to the President:  “Your participation would signal a clear commitment to strengthening business relationships between the United States and African nations.  Greater trade and investment between the United States and Africa would do more than alleviate poverty – it would promote our shared prosperity.  There is no better venue than the AGOA Forum to make that case.” 

Chairman Royce, who championed AGOA in Congress, is the former Chairman of the Africa Subcommittee.

The signed letter to the President is available HERE

The text of the letter to the President follows:

May 14, 2013

Dear Mr. President:

As a long time supporter of private sector engagement between the United States and Africa as a means to spur economic growth and development, I have championed the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) - which reduces tariffs for African nations showing a commitment to good governance and economic policies – since its beginning. AGOA also established the annual U.S. - Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, commonly known as the AGOA Forum, that convenes high-level ministers from AGOA eligible countries and Administration officials to discuss trade and investment related issues.  Many members of Congress, including myself, have participated in AGOA Forums over the years.

At a recent hearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned your intent to travel to Africa. I strongly encourage you to attend the AGOA Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as part of this proposed trip. Your participation would signal a clear commitment to strengthening business relationships between the United States and African nations. Greater trade and investment between the United States and Africa would do more than alleviate poverty – it would promote our shared prosperity.  There is no better venue than the AGOA Forum to make that case.

When expressing support for the Department of Commerce’s “Doing Business in Africa” campaign last November, you rightly noted that “many American entrepreneurs and business leaders are unaware of the tremendous trade and investment prospects in sub-Saharan Africa or face challenges establishing business relationships in the region.” The vast interest garnered from a brief appearance by you at the AGOA forum would surely help bring attention to the continent’s immense economic opportunities.

Thank you for considering my views.  I look forward to working with you and others in your Administration to encourage Africa-U.S. business partnerships.

Sincerely,

EDWARD R. ROYCE
Chairman

 

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