Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
International investors have recognized the EAC as the fastest growing economic region and the most economically attractive regional block in Sub-Saharan Africa. Under the EAC Customs Union (launched in 2005), the five member countries of the EAC (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi) have established a common external tariff; agreed to eliminate customs duties and remove non-tariff barriers on trade between member countries; made plans to harmonize procedures on customs, anti-dumping, and safeguards; and agreed to undertake common export promotion programs. The EAC member countries are also in the process of establishing a Common Market (launched in 2010), which aims to provide for free movement of goods, labor, services and capital among the EAC member countries.
In June 2011, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk presented the EAC Secretary General with a proposal to enhance trade and investment at the U.S.-Sub-Saharan African Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (AGOA Forum) in Zambia. On June 15, 2012, the Obama Administration, the EAC Secretary General, and Ministers of Trade from the EAC member countries announced their resolve to pursue a new Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the EAC, which would include exploring: (1) A regional investment treaty, (2) a trade facilitation agreement, (3) continued trade capacity building and (4) a Commercial Dialogue [
The Department of Commerce is leading U.S. efforts to establish a Commercial Dialogue with the EAC, which would be the first U.S. Commercial Dialogue with Sub-Saharan African partners and the first U.S. Commercial Dialogue with a regional customs union.
The Commercial Dialogue will serve as an inter-governmental consultative forum, reflecting private sector priorities and input. The Commercial Dialogue will also promote business opportunities in key sectors linked to EAC development goals; foster an open and predictable business climate by providing a forum for addressing non-tariff trade barriers and other constraints to trade; support the EAC's integration process by facilitating stronger private sector ties between companies in the United States and the EAC and throughout the EAC region; and increase private sector input into the U.S.-EAC Trade and Investment Partnership. The EAC Secretariat, member countries' Ministries of Trade and the Department of Commerce are in the process of formalizing the Commercial Dialogue and developing an appropriate structure and agenda that would drive its activities.
Additional information, including a draft concept paper for the proposed Commercial Dialogue, can be found at
The Department of Commerce is considering proposing two principal areas of focus for work under the Commercial Dialogue. First, Commerce plans to propose
In submitting comments, please address: Your company's, your member companies' or your organization's (hereafter “You” or “Your”) experiences and business activities in the above referenced areas of focus; Your viewpoint on any other appropriate areas of focus for the proposed Commercial Dialogue; Your perspective on priorities and challenges You face with respect to doing business in the EAC, especially with respect to the above referenced areas of focus; and Your proposals for actions or activities that Commerce could undertake in working with our EAC partners under the proposed Commercial Dialogue to promote business opportunities or to foster an open and predictable business climate. Please include with comments the name of your company or organization submitting comments, as well as email and telephone number for an appropriate contact person with the company or organization.
The Department of Commerce anticipates continuing to need input on the agenda and focus of the U.S.-EAC Commercial Dialogue going forward. Please feel free to contact the Office of Africa to provide advice and input on the U.S.-EAC trade and investment relationship or the U.S.-EAC Commercial Dialogue even after the close of the comment period.