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Uganda Appoints US Trade Officials

By Vision Reporter

Added 15th January 2002 03:00 AM

President Yoweri Museveni has said he is about to appoint government officials to boost trade with the USA.

President Yoweri Museveni has said he is about to appoint government officials to boost trade with the USA.

By Vision Reporter President Yoweri Museveni has said he is about to appoint government officials to boost trade with the USA. Addressing a press conference in Kampala yesterday, Museveni said, “The African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) will change Uganda and Africa for the best. But our people must wake up to this rare chance now. I am soon going to make appointments to assist with this issue.” Under the Act passed about 18 months ago by the USA, Africa with an economy of US$555b can now export into the hitherto protected $11,000b US market without tariffs and quotas. Uganda’s market is worth $6.8b. “I have always told the world that Africa needs trade and not aid. The AGOA was worked on by our American friends. Trade is the real solution to our problems. The US market is very big. So when they say that come and share our (USA) market, we should be dancing in the streets,” he said. He said Uganda has the best quality cotton and other products in the world. “For the first time, I am very happy with the Americans because they have given us a chance to grow. They now say that Africa can sell their goods at zero tariffs without import tax and without quotas. In the 1960s they only allowed us two ships of beef or sugar. Now they are saying bring everything,” Museveni said. He urged the media to help him highlight and disseminate information on generation of employment, development of the human resource through education and health, efforts to widen the tax base, industrialisation, commercial agriculture, infrastructural developments and market access. “My comrades, it is not enough to keep talking about political power. It is your job to talk about these issues like AGOA and how our people can benefit from such opportunities. If you don’t help me, I will go it alone. You remember I started with 27 people and now I have millions,” he said while using a white board to illustrate his point. He lashed out at government officials for “dragging their feet in helping Uganda benefit from AGOA. He said, “My friends in the US were worried that our textiles and other products would be smuggled into the USA as if they were Ugandan. They advised us to make an amendment in our laws to block transshipment. “A violation of this law means that the culprit will have to pay a fine of three times the value of the goods. My same American friends came back and warned me that unless we did that, we would lose out. You can’t believe this, my people were again still sleeping. They delayed the law. But now they have done it.” He said he is now struggling to “resuscitate the textile and other industries.” He said, “So my comrades, ladies and gentlemen of the press, can you please help me spread this good news to our people? I want you to be like the Three Wise Men who spread the good news about the birth of Jesus. Please, tell our people that we finally have a way out of our seeming eternal poverty.” He said Uganda now has a strong state and law and order had improved. Ends

Uganda Appoints US Trade Officials

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