U.S. Signs Trade Promotion Pact With West African Nations

By Agence France-Presse The United States signed April 24 an agreement with a regional group of eight West African nations to promote increased trade, investment and economic reforms. "This agreement will help expand economic engagement between West Africa and the United States on regional and multilateral trade issues, and enhance West Africa's commercial potential and dynamism," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said in a statement. The agreement sets up a formal mechanism for regular consultation and work on trade and investment between the United States and the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU). "WAEMU is eight small African countries that have the advantage of understanding that the world has changed and that it is time to turn a few pages of recent history after the 1960s and independence," WAEMU President Moussa Toure said at the signing. Total two-way trade between the United States and WAEMU rose 12% to more than $760 million last year. The eight African countries hope to build a stronger trade and investment relationship with the United States. "I am convinced that the American private sector, with its legendary realism, will know how to find the opportunities provided by our common market," said Togo Finance, Economy and Privatisation Minister Tankpadja Lalle. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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