The Secretary General of the East African Community Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera on Friday received US Senators and member of congress and informed them that the business community from US, need to invest more in the region. Dr Sezibera said the EAC was open to more structured discussions with the USA on improving the business relations noting that a bilateral investment agreement framework between both parties was in the offing.
"At the moment, I am aware that the USA has interests in agriculture, energy and the financial services among others and we welcome further investments into the region," Amb. Sezibera noted.
The United States Government recently signed an agreement with the East African Community that allows the US to strengthen and increase their trade relations with the economic bloc.
Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on behalf of the US while EAC Director-General for Customs and Trade Peter Kiguta signed on behalf of the EAC.
In his remarks, Senator Inhofe who led the delegation hailed the Secretary General for leading his troops in the integration process and remarked that the EAC was a leading regional economic community spurring tangible benefits for the citizens. He said the region continued to be globally competitive and offered vast opportunities. Senator Inhofe further noted that the US was keeping tabs on the progress and developments at the EAC.
Last year, A US-Rwanda bilateral investment treaty was ratified following discussions to increase and diversify trade through exploitation of existing partnerships between the two countries.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, François Kanimba, after ratifying the treaty noted that the ratification of the treaty symbolizes the strong partnership that the two nations have developed over the years.
"The ratification of the Bilateral Investment Treaty comes at a time of growing international interest in the East African region and the continent at large. As East Africa integrates and businesses grow, Rwanda becomes more strategic as a gateway to the 133.1 million EAC consumers," Kanimba said.
Bilateral trade between the United States and the EAC region exceeded $1.2 billion in 2007. U.S. imports from EAC members under AGOA and the Generalized System of Preferences totaled $265 million in 2007.