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NEWS RELEASE 98-088; NOVEMBER 16, 1998
November 16, 1998
News Release 98-088
Inv. No. 332-362
ITC RELEASES FOURTH REPORT ON
U.S.-SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA TRADE
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) today released U.S.-Africa Trade Flows and
Effects of the Uruguay Round Trade Agreements and U.S. Trade and Development Policy, the
fourth of five annual reports that will assist the President in developing a comprehensive trade
and development policy for the countries of Africa, as required by the Uruguay Round
Agreements implementing legislation.
The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, was requested to conduct
the investigation by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) under the Africa Policy
Section of the Statement of Administrative Action that Congress approved with the Uruguay
Round Agreements Act.
As requested by USTR, the ITC's study is limited to the 48 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The current report provides an update for 1997 on U.S.-Africa trade and investment flows in
major sectors; an identification of major developments in the World Trade Organization
(WTO) and in U.S. trade and economic policy and commercial activities that significantly
affect bilateral trade and investment with the region; information on changing trade and
economic activities within individual countries; and an update on progress in regional
integration in Africa. Following are some highlights of the report:
- Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for about 1 percent of U.S. merchandise exports and
2 percent of U.S. merchandise imports in 1997. U.S. merchandise exports to Sub-
Saharan Africa totaled $6.1 billion in 1997, up only slightly from $6 billion in 1996.
The U.S. merchandise trade deficit with Sub-Saharan Africa rose 9 percent to
- Transportation equipment, agricultural products, machinery, electronic products, and
chemicals were the largest U.S. merchandise export sectors with respect to Sub-Saharan
Africa in 1997. These five sectors accounted for 78 percent of the value of U.S.
merchandise exports to the region in 1997.
- Imports entering duty-free under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
rose from $588.2 million in 1996 to $1.4 billion in 1997, an increase of 134 percent.
These imports rose to 8.6 percent by value of total U.S. imports from the region in
1997, more than double that of the 1996 share.
- The Sub-Saharan countries accounted for 8.9 percent of all U.S. GSP imports in 1997.
Because of changes to the GSP program for least-developed beneficiary developing
countries that allowed products from Angola's energy sector to qualify for GSP
preferences, Angola became in 1997 the largest Sub-Saharan African supplier under the
GSP program. South Africa was the second-ranking supplier under the program.
- U.S. gross direct investment flows to Sub-Saharan Africa more than quadrupled in
1997 to $3.8 billion. Yet, U.S. investment to the region amounted to only about
3.3 percent of total U.S. direct investment abroad in 1997. U.S. companies invested
primarily in petroleum in Nigeria and Angola. South Africa hosted $1.4 billion of U.S.
direct investment, or 28.6 percent of the total.
- Subregional trade and economic integration has been difficult in the region. Ambitious
goals have been hampered by political and economic instability, as well as conflicting
interests among the leading regional institutions. It is unlikely that most proposed
target dates for free trade agreements and economic and monetary unions will be met.
Common problems among the six regional groups profiled in this report have involved
delays in ratifying treaty protocols by member governments and shortages of operating
- Financial activity in Sub-Saharan Africa by international organizations generally
increased in 1997 although World Bank lending commitments to the region declined
from $2.7 billion in 1996 to $1.7 billion in 1997. Guarantees by the Multilateral
Investment Guarantee Agency increased from approximately $65 million in fiscal year
1996 to $70 million in 1997. The International Finance Corporation approved
$384 million in financing for 72 projects in Sub-Saharan Africa in fiscal year 1997,
compared to $190 million in 1996.
- In 1997, several Sub-Saharan African countries continued to increase their efforts to
avail themselves of WTO and other programs aimed at improving their trade
performance. Maritime transport services appeared to be the negotiations of greatest
interest to West and Central Africa, and are likely to be so again when these
negotiations resume in 2000.
The foregoing information is from the ITC report U.S.-Africa Trade Flows and Effects of the
Uruguay Round Trade Agreements and U.S. Trade and Development Policy (Investigation No.
332-362, USITC Publication 3139, October 1998). The report will be available on the ITC's
Internet server at www.usitc.gov. A printed copy may be requested by calling 202-205-1809
or by writing the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street,
SW, Washington, DC. 20436. Requests may also be faxed to 202-205-2104.
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