U.S. Chamber and State Department Partner on Trade Delegation to South Africa

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Effort highlights impact of bilateral commercial relations on job creation in both countries.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Africa Business Initiative announced today that it will partner with the State Department to bring a business delegation of more than one dozen senior U.S. executives to South Africa from August 6 through 8. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to meet with the delegation during her travel to Johannesburg to attend the annual U.S.-South Africa Strategic Dialogue and the U.S.-South Africa Business Summit, in which members of the executive delegation will participate.

“South Africa is critically important to America’s commercial interests on the continent,” said Scott Eisner, vice president of African Affairs and International Division Operations at the U.S. Chamber. “Expanding the U.S.-South African commercial relationship is in the interests of companies and workers who produce goods exported and sold in South African markets. We applaud Secretary Clinton’s attention to the importance of the growing economic relationship between our two countries.”

Over the last 10 years, U.S. trade with Africa has tripled while the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s support for U.S. export sales have risen from an average of $455 million annually in FY 2006-2009 to more than $1.4 billion in FY 2011. However, highlighting the missed opportunity for American companies, trade with Africa from China, India, and Brazil has increased eight-fold over that same period. The trend is accelerating: Earlier this month China publicly committed to doubling its investments in Africa, with an additional $20 billion in loans to develop infrastructure, agriculture and support to small- and medium-sized enterprises.

A key component of the trade delegation’s trip will be its participation in a U.S.-South Africa Business Summit in Johannesburg, which is set to take place on August 6. The event will bring together more than 200 business executives and government officials from both countries, including representatives from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Export Import Bank of the United States, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

The Chamber’s delegation is comprised of senior representatives from Chevron, Boeing, GE, EMD (a subsidiary of Caterpillar), Trimble Navigation, Symbion, Zanbato, FedEx Express, Walmart, and Black & Veatch.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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