Improving trade ties between the United States and Africa took a big step forward with the first meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA).

“Our gathering today is part of the administration’s effort to write the next paragraphs in what President Obama called a ‘new chapter in U.S.-Africa relations,’” Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said April 8.

The meeting builds on the August 2014 U.S.-Africa Business Forum, when U.S. companies pledged more than $14 billion of investments in African markets. Obama established the PAC-DBIA in 2014 during the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

The PAC-DBIA meeting focused on:

  • Mobilizing capital: Robust capital markets are essential for any nation to attract long-term investment.
  • Improving supply-chain efficiency: Ensuring easy movement of imports and exports helps reduce cost, increase trade efficiency and boost government revenues.
  • Building infrastructure: The President’s Advisory Council recommends the creation of a U.S.-Africa Infrastructure Center to identify, assess and prioritize African infrastructure projects.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) allows qualifying African countries to export thousands of goods and products to the United States duty-free. Since 2001, AGOA has helped create 350,000 African jobs and boosted trade between Africa and the United States by 53 percent.

Thanks to AGOA, Americans can enjoy barbecue sauce from Kenya, drink fine wines from South Africa, and wear lab coats from Ghana — just a few of the many African goods and products available to American consumers and helping build African economies.