Malawi, U.S. Seek to Boost Bilateral Trade, Investment with the USA

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Acting U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Demetrios Marantis (far left above) met March 29 with Malawi President Joyce Banda (seated on couch) in Washington for discussions of how both governments can stimulate two-way trade and investment, strengthen Malawi’s business environment and contribute to regional growth.

In 2012, two-way U.S.-Malawi trade was $129.9 million — a 7 percent increase from 2011. U.S. exports to Malawi mainly consisted of wheat, pharmaceuticals and machinery, while U.S. imports from Malawi consisted of tobacco, apparel, tea, macadamia nuts and sugar, the USTR’s office said.

Also in 2012, Malawi’s exports under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) were valued at $53.1 million — 86 percent of the country’s exports to the United States. AGOA allows participating countries in sub-Saharan Africa to export nearly all of their goods to the United States duty-free. Currently, 40 countries participate in AGOA.

Malawi has been diversifying its AGOA exports, which previously comprised mostly in-quota tobacco and sugar, by focusing on its apparel sector. Marantis congratulated the government for its recent economic reforms, and voiced U.S. support for continued efforts to improve Malawi’s trade and investment environment.

Banda and three other Africa leaders were in Washington March 28–29 to meet with President Obama and other U.S. officials. At a March 29 event, Banda described economic reforms and austerity measures she instituted in 2012. “Malawi is a success story because in the past year,” with the 2012 reforms, Malawi’s economy is expected to grow by 5 percent in 2013, Banda said at the event.

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