By Margaret Wahito, 17 May 2012 of Capital FM Nairobi
Nairobi, Kenya — The United States of America has denied claims that it is lobbying for its investments agreements with east African countries with the aim of blocking China’s investments.
US Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael Camunez said there is no any business competition between China and the US since the countries in the region have freedom to choose who to partner with.
The Secretary who is on a 10-day tour of the region says the US has always focused on humanitarian aid among other projects, as opposed to China which has invested much on infrastructure, electronic business and also the media.
“We are doing what we can to promote US investment here. It’s great that china and other nations are looking seriously at east Africa, it’s a growing market. I think it would be a mistake to misinterpret that. However we have a very strong interest, “said Camunez.
He however says the US is now looking into partnering with the private sector and invest much in the telecommunication, the energy sector and agribusiness.
“The United States is exploring the negotiation of the regional investment treaty, and the trade facilitation agreement, that will help to deepen our strategic trade and commercial relationship with the East African community,” added Camunez.
The statement comes as the US lawmakers plan to introduce bills in the House of Representatives and Senate meant to expand U.S. exports to Africa by 200 percent over the next ten years.
The bill would require that 25 percent of U.S. trade financing be devoted to Africa, create a new position of US-Africa trade coordinator, and encourage African American businesses to be active on the continent.
The U.S. is a major donor to Africa and takes in one-fifth of its imports, but trade in the opposite direction has slipped in recent years with $21 billion worth of U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa in 2011.