LiveatState: AGOA 2015 Forum Preview

Remarks
Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Florie Liser
Washington, DC
August 18, 2015


MR ZELTAKALNS: Welcome to LiveAtState, the State Department’s interactive online video platform for engaging international media. I’m delighted to welcome participants today from around the continent and around the world. I’d like to send a special shout-out to our watch parties in Abuja, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Lagos, Libreville, Lome, and Luanda. Today you’ll be speaking with Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield and U.S. Trade Representative for Africa Affairs – for African Affairs Florie Liser about the upcoming AGOA Forum which will take place in Libreville, Gabon next week.

Before I turn it over to our guests, I’d like to make a couple of housekeeping notes. We’re providing simultaneous interpretation in French and Portuguese today, and if you wish to listen to the press conference in either of those languages, please dial into the phone numbers provided on the bottom left of your screen now. You can start submitting your questions now in the bottom of the window entitled “Questions for State Department Officials.” If you have difficulty submitting your questions, you can always email them at live@state.gov. We welcome your questions and we’ll try to get to as many as we have time for today, but please note that we can only accept questions in English. If you’d like to continue engaging on this topic after today’s program, you can follow us @StateAfrica, @StateDept, and @USTradeRep on Twitter using the hashtag #AGOA2015. You can also follow the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs on Facebook at facebook.com/DOSAfricanAffairs.

With that, let’s get started. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield, thank you for coming again and welcome to the program.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Good, thank you very much, and I’m really delighted to be back at LiveAtState. And you know that I really enjoy the opportunity to talk to our press colleagues across the continent of Africa, and I’m delighted to be here with my colleague Florie Liser, the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative. We’re both going to be in Gabon at the end of the – of next week for the AGOA forum, and we’re really looking forward to that.

Let me make a few very brief comments on AGOA. We were delighted – I mean, absolutely delighted with the recent 10-year reauthorization of AGOA. The reauthorization garnered bipartisan support here in the United States, and that’s a clear indication of promoting prosperity, opening markets, and inclusive development and stronger regional integration and good governance on the continent of Africa. It’s a signal that businesspeople can and should invest with confidence in Africa. And as we celebrate AGOA’s reauthorization, the future of U.S.-Africa trade post-AGOA remains a top priority within the interagency and will be the focus of this year’s AGOA Forum.

I will now turn to my colleague Florie to make a few comments on the forum itself, but certainly I look forward to the meaningful dialogue on trade and investment issues that will take place next week in Gabon, and I look forward to hearing your questions today. Florie.

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: Thank you so much, Linda, for inviting me to be here at LiveAtState. I’m delighted to be here. And as the Assistant Secretary was saying, I think you all know that AGOA is a trade preference program that provides duty-free access to the U.S. market for products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries. And currently there are 39 eligible countries. We have been holding the AGOA Forums annually since the program began nearly 15 years ago, and this year’s forum comes at a particularly interesting time. The AGOA program was due to expire on September 30th of 2015, but as Linda said, the U.S. Congress recently extended it for an additional 10 years until September 30th of 2025. This renewal reaffirms the strong support in the United States for closer commercial ties with our sub-Saharan African partners.

The 10-year extension – the longest in the program’s history – will also provide certainty for African producers and U.S. buyers regarding access to the U.S. market under the AGOA program and create a stable environment that encourages increased investment in sub-Saharan Africa. The AGOA Forum will provide also an opportunity for the top trade officials from both Africa and the United States to discuss how best to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the extension of the program, including through developing AGOA utilization plans that are included as a part of the new AGOA legislation. And now that we are no longer worrying about AGOA expiring in the near term, the AGOA Forum will provide an opportunity for us to begin a more strategic conversation about the future of our trade and investment relationship with Africa.

We know that a lot has happened under AGOA. We’re now at $4.4 billion in non-oil products coming into the U.S. under AGOA. But we also know that there is still much work to be done to take full advantage of AGOA. So we in the U.S. are providing trade capacity building and other technical assistance, and we really look forward to engaging with our African partners when we get to Libreville, Gabon to talk about how we move forward implementing AGOA and going beyond AGOA.

Linda.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Thank you. And that raises the question: “What is different about the new AGOA legislation?”

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: So the new AGOA legislation, in addition to extending for 10 years, did a few additional things. It improved the rules of origin so that countries could use the program across borders and include the cost of direct processing as they share production from one country to another on their way to the U.S. market. It also provided more transparency for the program. We now have several reports which we’ll be providing to Congress. We also are having a petition process that has been established under AGOA. So we think that the improvements to AGOA and the extension of AGOA – the long-term extension of AGOA – will allow our African partners to take greater advantage of the program.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield, this question comes to us from Nigeria, Radio One: “What major feat was achieved by AGOA in improving developing African countries in the last 15 years?”

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: That’s a great question. And I think the answer to that question is very clear. When we look at the advantages that have accrued to African countries, such as benefiting from access to the U.S. market, being supported by U.S. – by the U.S. Government – in terms of improving their ability to provide products to the United States.

And then I would look at the political side of AGOA. That has been an essential part of AGOA – encouraging countries to respect human rights, encouraging countries to respect press freedoms, and encouraging countries to generally respect the rights of workers. That has been a key part, a key component of AGOA’s success, and it’s something that our African partners, particularly the people, benefit significantly from. And Florie, you might want to add to that.

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: Yes, we’ve used the AGOA eligibility criteria over the years to really work with our African partners in putting in place, as the Assistant Secretary said, a number of situations there that really promote trade and investment, having rule of law, respecting commercial relationships between U.S. businesses and African businesses that are partners in taking advantage of AGOA. All of these things have not only led to the Africans being able to export more to the U.S. but also to the U.S. having greater relationships with increasing exports with our African partners.

So we do believe that the great feat of AGOA over the past 15 years of the program is not only the trade, but the relationships that have been put in place and the kind of trade and investment promoting environment that has been established in partnership with our African AGOA partners.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Carlos Ketohou from Togo asks: “AGOA has survived three U.S. presidents. Madam Assistant Secretary, will it continue after President Obama?”

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Well, clearly, it’s going to continue after President Obama. It was extended to 2025, 10 years. One of the great things about AGOA is it gets bipartisan support on both sides of our Congress. We will have members of Congress participating in the AGOA forum in Gabon as they have done in earlier forums, and we see this as a real strong commitment of the U.S. Government, regardless of political party, to development and trade relations with the continent.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Brook Abdu from Fortune Newspaper in Ethiopia wonders: “With the recent visit of President Obama to Kenya and Ethiopia, there were promises regarding investment relations between the two countries in addition to the trade relation through AGOA. Will there be any growth of the opportunity to grow investment that was – that will be discussed at Gabon?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Certainly if we look at the visit of the President to East Africa, that visit started with the Global Entrepreneurship Summit that brought 1,200 entrepreneurs from across the globe to Kenya to look at investment opportunities on the continent of Africa. There were several billion dollars in investment capital raised during the summit, a commitment to supporting youth and women entrepreneurs as well as promoting additional trade between the United States and Africa, both in Kenya as well as in Ethiopia. So certainly that will be the topic of discussion when we’re in Gabon as well.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Anything to add, ma’am?

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: Yeah. And I’d just like to add that Africa is increasingly a destination for U.S. investors in terms of global investment, foreign direct investment. And so we’re very pleased that there is a strong upward movement in terms of investment into our sub-Saharan African partners. And in fact, Ethiopia has attracted quite a bit of investment that’s related to AGOA. And so we feel very good about that as well.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Well, staying on that, that feeds into Noel Tadegnon from Media Togo’s next question: “Fifteen years after the program began, there’s still – there are still a lot of African countries whose companies don’t take advantage of AGOA. How can African private businessmen become more familiar with the benefits of AGOA in 2015?”

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: So we think that there has to be a partnership between – that’s an excellent question – a partnership between governments, between the U.S. Government and African governments, but also a partnership with the entrepreneurs and private sectors on both sides. African entrepreneurs do need to make sure that they have all the information about AGOA, how it works, and about the opportunities that are present in the U.S. market for their products here. And we have a number of programs, including those that are supported by the Agency for International Development, through our regional trade hubs all across Africa, helping African entrepreneurs to in fact take direct advantage of AGOA.

So we think that, as I said before, there has been a certain amount of success under AGOA to date, but we’re actually thinking that this is a really a great time for African entrepreneurs and businesses to take even greater advantage of AGOA. And we’re looking forward to working with them on that.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Next question for you, Assistant Secretary, from Bridget Mananavire (Daily News – Zimbabwe): “Given the frost relations between the U.S. and Zimbabwe, how likely are you to build on economic and investment opportunities in Zimbabwe?”

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: And another excellent question. I recently welcomed a group of Zimbabwean business people to the State Department. They were here on a program funded by the U.S. Government to encourage greater economic trade between the United States and Zimbabwe, the political relationship between our governments does not affect the economic relationships that we have with businesses that are trying to do better efforts at investing in the United States or getting American companies to invest in Zimbabwe.

I also was delighted, during the YALI summit two weeks ago in Washington, to engage with a number of very engaging young Zimbabwean entrepreneurs and other young people who were part of this program. And so we try to encourage the people-to-people relationships that had been very much a part of our government’s foreign policy. Those relationships support encouraging business and trade relations with Zimbabwe, and we hope to continue with those.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Thank you. Our next question, from Kevin Kelley at the Nation Media Group in Kenya, is for Assistant USTR Liser: “What’s the principal obstacle to development of a local yarn industry in apparel-exporting countries such as Kenya? Does AGOA’s third country fabric provision, in place for 13 years, act as a disincentive to such development?”

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: That’s a really good question, but the answer is, “No.” What we know is that African producers of apparel, like producers of apparel all around the world, need to have the flexibility to source their inputs from wherever those can be produced most effectively – cost-effectively for the products that they are sewing.

And so we want, through the third country fabric provision, to give the African producers of apparel that flexibility. We do know in terms of establishing textiles business on the ground, producing those inputs right there in Africa, that more of that is indeed beginning to happen. And the reason for that is as U.S. buyers of apparel – and this is an enormous market for apparel – as U.S. buyers of apparel source more of their apparel from Africa, then investors in textiles mills, which are every expensive, will be incentivized and are being incentivized to actually establish those fabric mills right there in Africa, and then be able to save time in terms of getting those inputs that are needed for the clothing that’s being produced.

So we see that happening already. It’s happening in Kenya. It’s happening in Ethiopia and around the continent, and that’s what we need to have more of as we go forward in this 10-year extension of AGOA.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Madam Assistant Secretary, next question is from Michel Arsenault of Radio France International. He wonders: “Is the U.S. considering striking Burundi off its AGOA list in light of recent political developments there?”

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: There is built into AGOA a review process to look at countries that are not in sync with what we would like to see happening politically, democratically, in terms of human rights. There is some discussion within the U.S. Government of reviewing Burundi. We have not reached the point of doing that review yet, but I think it will come sooner rather than later if the situation does not resolve itself very quickly.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Next question is from Brook Abdu of Fortune Magazine in Ethiopia: “Apart from items like textile, oil, manufacturing, and aircraft – mainly traded items between the U.S. and Africa – what other sectors will have benefits from the extension of AGOA over the following 10 years?” Send that to you, madam.

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: So what we’ve seen actually over the course of the last 15 years of AGOA is that the Africans have been able to triple the amount of non-oil exports that they have sent to the United States. And we’re seeing an increase in a range of non-oil products – footwear is one, cocoa and cocoa products, various nuts and oils from nuts, and other value-added agricultural products are coming into the United States now under AGOA. And so we have every confidence that the next 10 years of AGOA will allow our African partners to be able to increase their value-added, non-oil products that they ship to us and to be able to compete in the U.S. market in those products.

MR ZELTAKALNS: And we’ll stay with you on sort of the same topic. This comes from our watch party, from Isaac Aregbosola in Abuja: “AGOA has given the impression of stringent regulations. With the extension, what steps are being taken to minimize the challenges to access the U.S. market?”

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: So perhaps this question is very much focused on the ability of Africans to meet our food safety standards in the United States and other industrial standards that we have for our products. And we believe that that’s a very important part of the Africans being competitive in our market, being able to meet sanitary and phytosanitary requirements. And so one of the things that we have done is we have put in our regional trade hubs experts from our U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and they are working closely with the Africans in helping them to meet U.S. standards. That’s the point. The Africans have the opportunity of AGOA, but they have to be able to overcome some of the supply side constraints that they have on their side. And we are happy on the U.S. side to be partners in working with them to do just that.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Thank you. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield, this sort of builds on that question. This comes from Jessica Kosmider of Mercury LLC: “What sort of infrastructure development is necessary for sub-Saharan African countries to fully take advantage of AGOA, and what tools will the U.S. Government provide to help those efforts?”

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Good. That gives me an opportunity to highlight Power Africa. The key restraint to Africa’s economy taking off is the lack of inexpensive, clean power. And Power Africa is an effort to assist in that. The idea behind Power Africa is that we will work with African countries and with companies to triple the access to power, not just to businesses but to ordinary people, to schools. And we think with cheap power that Africa’s economy will take off; in fact, it will take off quite rapidly. And that is an area that we hope to have some success in over the next few years.

The other side of this is also something that we’re working with African countries on, and that is building up their legal and technical infrastructure so that it’s easier to do business on the continent of Africa. So we’re working with countries, particularly with departments of trade, ministries of trade, to support easing doing business in countries in Africa.

And then third, there are infrastructure areas like roads and bridges and ports and airport that are key to improving the possibilities for doing business, attracting companies to Africa, so that they can help build the infrastructure to promote more trade with the continent of Africa.

And these are all areas that are on our agenda, but I would say Power Africa is at the top of that.

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: And let me just add to Power Africa, which is an enormous and successful program and initiative that we have, that as the assistant secretary said, our Millennium Challenge accounts in Africa are also doing a great deal to build Africa’s physical infrastructure. I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of the port projects and road projects that have been established there – agricultural products, building out market – farm-to-market roads. And so we’re very pleased that there are a range of U.S. initiatives – Power Africa, MCC, Trade Africa as well – where we are really working with the Africans to build both the hard and the soft infrastructure that supports greater trade and investment, both regional trade as well as global trade, including with the U.S. under AGOA.

MR ZELTAKALNS: This question from Alphonse Ken of Kanal FM in Togo, builds on that: “AGOA is basically meant for African countries, so how does it benefit U.S. entrepreneurs?”

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: So I think that by improving the trade and investment environment in Africa, pushing our African partners to meet AGOA’s eligibility requirements of rule of law, helping them to facilitate trade in the region through agreements like the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, we are actually, we think, helping the Africans to be in a better place to take advantage of AGOA. And so this is something that we’re working in across the continent. In West Africa we have the Borderless Alliance and we’re helping them to move trucks across the borders there and to thereby be more competitive in their trade and being able to deliver products out to the global markets and to participate more effectively in global supply chains.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: And if I can add to that, in terms of the benefits to American companies and to the United States more broadly, we have found that AGOA – not only does it create jobs in Africa, it creates jobs in the United States. So it is a two-way benefit program, and American companies do benefit extensively from AGOA’s – from AGOA.

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: And our exports have increased in terms of sending more of our products to African countries, because as they develop, as their middle classes expand, they are actually in a better position to purchase products that the U.S. supplies to them.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Madam Assistant Secretary, Peter Fabricius from the African News Agency asks: “Are you concerned that South Africa might not be included in AGOA going forward because of the out-of-cycle review? What do you think chances are of South Africa’s participation being renewed?”

ASSISTANT SECRETRY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I think the chances are good. We’re working very, very closely with the Government of South Africa, with their ministry of trade, with their industry, to ensure that they meet the requirements that have been placed in the new law. We know that they take it seriously. We take it seriously. And we don’t see anything that will block South Africa participating in the future. They’re committed to ensuring that, and we’re committed to working with them.

MR ZELTAKALNS: We’ll go to Joel Costa from USACC Magazine in Angola, who is wondering: “What can the U.S. do to help those African countries, such as Angola, with huge potential but who are not currently exporting through AGOA? Are there actions already being taken on this regard?”

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: Well, yes. Actually, Angola does export under AGOA but it’s largely oil. But we have been working with the Angolans. We have a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with them. And one of the things that we have been focused on is export diversification – helping them to develop competitive products that go beyond the oil sector. And we believe that Angola does indeed have a lot of potential, particularly in agricultural value-added products, and we are working with them to develop those products for the U.S. market so that going forward under AGOA this next 10 years, hopefully we will see more of those products coming into the U.S. under AGOA.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Madam Assistant Secretary, is AGOA the United States attempt to counteract influence from China on the African continent?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I always get asked that question. AGOA existed long before China became active on the continent of Africa. Remember, we’ve already had 15 years of AGOA. We have another 10 years going forward. Our relationship with Africa on the trade side has been one that has been a long relationship, it has been a relationship that has been mutual, and it has been a relationship that I think has encouraged the Chinese to become more active on the continent of Africa.

And what I would say to this is that trade, wherever it comes from, is important to the Africa – to the African continent. Africa’s growth, Africa’s prosperity depends on Africa building up and unleashing its economic growth, and that can only be done if they have good, strong trade relationships across the globe – not just with the United States, but with other countries.

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: And let me just add one thing. We have heard time and time again, when we travel to Africa and to our AGOA partners, that they welcome the kind of investment and partnerships, business partnerships, that they have with U.S. companies. And so as the Assistant Secretary said, we encourage Africa to develop its trade and investment relationships with all of its global partners, but we also know that there is a special relationship between U.S. businesses and African businesses that we can take greater advantage of. And we are urging that more of that kind of partnership take place, and we believe that the Africans also welcome it.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Next question comes from the watch party from a journalist at our embassy in Dakar: “What does Senegal gain from AGOA, and generally, what does Africa – what do Africans gain from AGOA?” We’ll go with you.

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: So Senegal has to date not taken huge advantage of AGOA. I know that in my visits to Senegal, we have been working with them in a number of key areas – shea butter. We’ve seen products of value-added shea butter coming into the U.S. We’ve seen value-added fish products coming into the U.S. from Senegal. But we are really looking forward to working with them more closely so that they can identify, perhaps through one of these AGOA utilization plans that the new AGOA legislation calls for – if Senegal develops a good plan and we work with them there, we know that the African Development Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa also stand ready to help with these AGOA utilization plans, and so we look forward to working with Senegal to take even greater advantage of AGOA.

MR ZELTAKALNS: And Madam Assistant USTR, I think we’ll stay with you, actually, for this next question, which comes to us from Ethiopia. Brook Abdu wonders: “Although there are 39 sub-Saharan African countries that are eligible for the AGOA market, the utilization of the market is being dominated by a few. What new schemes will the extension bring into effect to balance utilization of the market?”

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: So first of all, through the years of AGOA we do know that oil had been the major product that was being shipped to the U.S. under AGOA, but I think that everyone is aware that African oil exports to the United States are actually declining for a variety of reasons. And in that same period, what has been really great to see is that there are other products that are being shipped to the U.S. under AGOA – non-oil products. And so we see that across a range of countries. I think when we last looked, there were, out of the 39 AGOA-eligible countries, probably about 23 that actually ship products to the U.S. We know that sometimes the amount of trade is very, very tiny, but at the same time, starting from a very low base and not having the kind of manufacturing and industrial foundation that countries around the world, other countries in other regions have had, that’s why we’ve been working with the Africans to get in place the right kind of environment to attract more investment into those sectors, and we do see it happening – it’s small.

And so I would just encourage the gentleman asking the question to look below the big numbers and you’ll see some other numbers that I think tell us a lot about the future of where we can go with AGOA in the coming years.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Madam Assistant Secretary, what is on the agenda for the 2015 AGOA Forum? Does the public get to participate, or is it ministers only?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: It is not ministers only. In fact, the wonderful thing about AGOA is that it brings together not just the private sector – so certainly, we’re going to have a lot of businesses that will be part of this – but it brings civil society into the discussion. So there is a separate discussion among our civil society colleagues that will be brought into the broader AGOA Forum, and then, of course, we have the ministers of trade and ministers of commerce participating in the discussion as well. And I would add that we’re really happy to have members of Congress who will also be participating, again, reflecting the strong support that they have for AGOA.

You want to go into more detail on what’s on the agenda?

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: So the other group that we’re real excited to welcome to the AGOA Forum is also the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program participants. We have probably more than a hundred women coming from across the continent who are our AWEP partners, as we call them. And so we’re excited that they’re coming as well. We have plenary sessions that will happen. We also have a number of workshops that will cover a range of issues from infrastructure to health to how our agricultural trade with Africa can be improved. And so again, we have a range of topics that will be covered. There are some sessions on Power Africa, Trade Africa.

So the AGOA Forum is really a great annual opportunity for us to engage with our African partners on how to improve the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship. And I think everyone knows that we alternate turns in hosting the AGOA Forum – one year in Africa, this year in Gabon. Next year, the United States is looking forward to hosting in Washington.

MR ZELTAKALNS: And our last question, I think: “What – since you’ve laid out the agenda for the AGOA Forum, what are some of the things you hope will be achieved, and where are we a few years from now?”

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I’m going to let you --

MR ZELTAKALNS: Please.

ASSISTANT USTR LISER: So I think that we have to look at AGOA both as a cornerstone of our economic relationship with Africa before AGOA was put in place in 2000. I think a lot of people focused on the aid relationship that we had and have had and continue to have with Africa. But I think that AGOA has made it very clear that we value Africa as a strong economic partner of the United States, and through AGOA we hope to strengthen and deepen and diversify that trade relationship. The 10-year extension of AGOA we have now creates a tremendous opportunity to do really two things: one, see how we can work together to more effectively utilize and maximize the benefits of AGOA; but also, to give us a chance to look at where do we want to go next with our African partners.

And so I think that over the next couple of years, we will be exploring with our African partners how – even as they take advantage of AGOA, how can we make sure that the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship reflects what is going on in the 21st century global economy, an Africa that is so dynamic that everyone in the world wants to trade with and invest in. The United States and our businesses also want to be as engaged as we possibly can, and we want to talk to our African partners about how we build on AGOA and go forward in the future.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: And if I can just add, the important point for Africa is that we have to work with Africa on its prosperity agenda so that there are opportunities that are created for their next generation. In many African countries, their population of youth range somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of their populations are under the age of 35. And it’s really important that as we help to build these economies that we partner with African governments so that this next generation feels vested in the future and they see opportunities available to them in the future.

And if I could end with just thanking the Government of Gabon for being our host this year. A lot of work has gone into the planning and organizing of the AGOA Forum, and we could not have done this without the support of the Government of Gabon. So I do want to thank them, and we all look forward to being in Gabon next week and working with our African partners on their prosperity agenda.

MR ZELTAKALNS: Thank you, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield, for joining us again here on LiveAtState and welcome, and thank you for joining us, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for African Affairs Florie Liser. And if you would like to continue this conversation, please do so. You can follow us on Twitter @StateAfrica, @StateDept, and @USTradeRep using the hashtag #AGOA2015. And we’ll be sending you audio and video as well as a transcript of today’s event very shortly, and we hope you can join us again for LiveAtState. Thank you very much for tuning in.