Saturday, August 21, 2010

US Chamber of commerce opens doors in Dar

In a move aimed at improving business links with Tanzania, the US ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt has officially launched the first American Chamber of Commerce in Dar es Salaam. The American Chamber of Commerce grew out of the American Business Association (ABA), which was established in 2005 to promote flow of trade and investment between the US and Tanzania, as well as to facilitate business and investment opportunities for U.S.-affiliated companies in Tanzania. The Chamber which will also encourage cultural interaction between American and Tanzanian businesspeople was launched on Thursday. It will provide a forum to address common business issues, a US embassy press statement issued yesterday says. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ambassador Lenhardt said Tanzania's economy has tremendous potential, as demonstrated by strong growth and increases in foreign direct investment, especially from the U.S., over the last decade. He noted that opportunities are plentiful in energy, infrastructure, tourism, telecommunications, real estate, construction, commercial agriculture, and minerals. He said Tanzania could also serve as a regional transport and shipping hub for the East African Community. However, the ambassador noted that Tanzania must continue improving its business climate in order to realize its full economic potential. U.S. companies view Africa, with more than one billion people, as an important market for American products, the press statement said.

US ambassador accredited in Tanzania Mr. Alfonso E. Lenhardt

The transformation of ABA into a full American Chamber of Commerce is a significant step in encouraging Tanzanian business climate improvement efforts, promoting economic growth, and strengthening the growing business ties between the U.S. and Tanzania, the statement said. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of which the Tanzanian American Chamber of Commerce is now a member, is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region. Trade links between Tanzania and the US were not vibrant in the past, although there is a steady improvement, according to statistics obtained from the Office of the United States Trade Representative Executive Office of the US President. “Tanzania is currently our 136th largest goods trading partner with $208 million in total (two way) goods trade during 2009,” the office says on its official website. “Goods exports [to Tanzania] totaled $158 million; Goods imports totaled $49 million. The U.S. goods trade surplus with Tanzania was $109 million in 2009.” Tanzania was the United States' 130th largest goods export market in 2009, when U.S. goods exports to Tanzania in 2009 were $158 million, down 6.6% ($11 million) from 2008, but up 223% from 1994 (the year prior to Uruguay Round). The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2009 were: Machinery ($41 million), Miscellaneous Textile Articles ($18 million), Milling/Malt/Starch ($15 million), Electrical Machinery ($12 million), and Vegetables (pinto beans) ($11 million), the office says. U.S. exports of agricultural products to Tanzania totaled $32 million in 2009. Tanzania was the United States' 136th largest supplier of goods imports in 2009, the office reports. U.S. goods imports from Tanzania totaled $49 million in 2009, down 11.5% ($6 million) from 2008, but up 231% over the last 15 years. The five largest import categories in 2009 were: Spices, Coffee and Tea (coffee) ($24 million), Precious Stones (gemstones) ($8 million), Edible Fruit and Nuts (cashew nuts) ($6 million), Lac and Vegetable Saps (pectates) ($3 million), and Miscellaneous Grain and Seed ($2 million). U.S. imports of agricultural products from Tanzania totaled $34 million in 2009, with the leading categories including coffee (unroasted) ($23 million), and tree nuts ($6 million). U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Tanzania was $21 million in 2005.

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